Each year, we survey more than 2,500 consumers across the globe to discover the latest on their real-world habits and opinions on a wide spectrum of customer service-related topics. Then we slice and dice the results, including by generational groups, to uncover useful insights such as year-over-year trends. The consumer wave of the 2019 NICE inContact Customer Experience (CX) Transformation Benchmark reveals the latest on customer service behaviors, expectations, and attitudes about digital channels and omnichannel service.
Millennials and Generation Z are flexing their spending muscles and quickly becoming dominant consumer groups. As these digital-natives mature and continue to push for only the very best experiences, their opinions and preferences become increasingly important. In fact, they are establishing the course for the future.
According to our research that future is here, and it’s digital-first omnichannel, meaning that more and more consumers prefer digital service channels, want channel choice and expect to be able to move seamlessly across all channels when necessary. Millennials and Generation Z are already trending heavily in this digital-first direction – for example, 60% of them have used private social messaging, such as Facebook Messenger, for customer service, which represents a higher adoption rate compared to their older peers.
Private social messaging has emerged as a significant channel for creating meaningful interactions. Think about it, we spend a significant amount of time on social media. We share photos and updates on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, we share ideas and updates via tweet on Twitter, we connect our professional network on Linkedin. As consumers, we ALL lead digital lives.
Contact center leaders should take heed, if this is where your customers are, this is where you want to be!
Being present in these channels and offering them to your customers creates an incredible opportunity for you to bring your customers closer to your brand. You’ll increase your interactions and make them more meaningful and in doing so, create strong advocates for your brand. All led by the contact center! Sounds pretty good, right?
But this doesn't mean other generations aren't using digital channels like online chat and text. In fact, online chat continues to rank first in customer satisfaction on average, across all age groups. Overall, agent-assisted methods, like chat and phone, receive higher ratings than self-service channels.
That might be due in part to the relative immaturity of AI-powered self-service methods, such as chatbots, which today mostly solve straightforward problems. The human touch is still important – our research shows that half of consumers that begin their interaction with AI have to be transferred to a service agent, and when they do get transferred, 93% of them expect the transition to be smooth and seamless - in other words, omnichannel.
These are just some of the insights on consumer behavior that our annual CX Transformation Benchmark report sheds light on. What’s most interesting is the abundance of evidence that show the preference for engaging on digital channels. This does not mean voice is even close to obsolete. But a thoughtful integration of digital across the entire contact center yields significant benefits to businesses. Interestingly, many businesses that consider themselves omnichannel, are really only multi-channel, having implemented email or chat into their contact center. This is a good first step but to yield true significant benefit, all channels that your customers use should be available to them when engaging your contact center.
I’ve spoken with many contact center leaders who will indicate that they do in fact, have digital deployed, all channels. However, they have a specific group of agents within the contact center that exclusively handle those channels.
Limiting digital channels to “digital specialists,” sounds great but its only another silo, leaving the remaining agents continuing to pound the phones and not maximize their productivity. A “digital first” contact center means that ALL agents are digitally fluent. This provides economies of scale across your agents and will have the greatest impact to whether your contact center is a cost center or a profit center. Best in class contact centers that provide real value in growing the business are digital first, made up of digitally fluent agents across the entire organization.
Our Innovator’s Guide to the Digital First Contact Center provides a great starting point for any contact center leader looking to build the business case for making the important investment in digital. It’s full of market data points that help you prove out the shift to digital from a consumer standpoint as well as what making the investment will mean to your business. I highly recommend it.
NICE inContact is a recognized leader for delivering Call Center Software that helps contact centers transform their operation to create meaningful engagements and deliver exceptional customer experience (CX) to your customers. The CXone platform provides all of the table stakes that you’d expect in the best contact center software platforms; ACD, IVR and Workforce Management, what really amplifies the power of the platform is the addition of over 30 different digital channels, presented to your agents on a seamless, user-intuitive interface, where agents can work multiple engagements at a time without ever having to leave their screen. It has proven powerful for businesses like Expivia Interaction Marketing Group, boost agent engagement and performance while reducing the costs of IT resources.If you are building the business case for a stronger, more experience-driven contact center, definitely check out the 2019 NICE inContact Customer Experience (CX) Transformation Benchmark as well as the other resources I’ve linked in this blog, all of them provide tremendous insights into the impact digital will have on your contact center going forward. See you in the digital marketplace!