The week after Labor Day in the US, and summer Bank Holiday in Europe, has always felt like a time of fresh beginnings. In the northeast where I grew up, children were off to school and many were starting work after a refreshing summer holiday.
As with so many things, 2020 is different. For many, back to school means back to video conferencing, either full or part time. The same is true for parents. The end of vacation means back to the desk, in front of a camera most of the day.
The paradigm extends to other parts of our lives. The COVID-19 pandemic has catapulted telehealth forward by decades in a few months. Teladoc, global leader in virtual care, reports telehealth visits up 203% in the second quarter of 2020 compared to last year.
E-commerce is also booming, not just because consumers want to limit their exposure to crowds but because so many retail chains have closed in the past few years.
- Online grocery delivery began surging in popularity when much of the world shut down due to the pandemic beginning in March 2020. The trend has only intensified even as stores reopen.
- On-demand delivery platform DoorDash began partnering with several supermarket chains as it launched online grocery delivery in August.
- UberEATS has helped keep Uber afloat as people travel less but also eat in restaurants less.
Even going to the gym has a digital component – scheduling your equipment time or in my case, reserving your lane in the pool. For all of these industries, virtual and remote product and service delivery is supported digitally. Companies have had to create or expand mobile applications and websites for scheduling and/or ordering.
For those of us in the contact center the question becomes are we supporting these customer changes with increased options for digital support? For years we have slowly added email and chat as interaction choices, and that’s good. In fact, the NTT 2020 Customer Experience Benchmarking Report data shows that email is now supported in 89.8% of the contact centers in their global sample of over 800 enterprises. But other digital channels do not fare as well.
As seen in the graphic, social media interactions are supported by 66.2% of contact centers and instant messaging (e.g., SMS, Line or WhatsApp) by just 39.5%. Interactions from mobile applications are supported in the just 54.2% of the contact centers surveyed.
As consumers, we know that a company offering a variety of channels and serving customers well across those channels are two different things. In addition to not making the broadest variety of interaction channels available, companies often fail in how those channels are delivered.
- Can the same agent both handle a voice call and send an SMS to a customer about the call?
- Does an agent handling a web chat have access to the direct message tweet that the customer may have sent about the same issue?
Digital Dividends: The Payoff of Digital-First Service and Pitfalls of Failing to Pivot, a webinar coming Tuesday, September 22nd 2pm ET, VP of Segment and Product Marketing for NICE inContact and I will tackle the themes discussed here. Come to hear why delivering digital-first customer care is a challenge all contact centers must rise to and how some NICE inContact customers have already met the challenge.