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Research Update

Published on 24 May 2021

Research Update

2020 Global Customer Experience (CX)

A key feature of the latest benchmark report from NTT (previously the Dimension Data Report) is an analysis of factors that drive variation in NPS scores. 86% of organisations agree that CS offers a strategic edge, but it forms a crucial part of the strategy for just 14%. A quarter (26%) are dissatisfied with their CX capability (up 15% vs 2019). The report flags four key success factors. 

  • Track the value realised from CX strategy. A quarter (26%) demonstrate strategic focus and can track value. They achieved 28% promoter scores (vs 10% for others) and just 19% detractors scores (vs 64%). 
  • Collaborate on CX design across channels. Speed is key for customers and the best collaborators were able to slash response times, with 42% faster results on phone, 34% on email and 34% on social media – but just 10% on web chat. 
  • Voice of the Customer. 46% now have established VOC programmes (up 10 points). Of these, half saw improved revenue/profits (vs 36%) and 65% saw improvements to customer loyalty and value (vs 53%). 
  • Enterprise analytics identifies blockers. Data management is one of the most important and innovative areas for differentiation. Those with cross-channel data management and analytics cut detractors to just 21%, compared to almost half (49%) of customers for others. 

AI and Omni-Channel 

Automated Intelligence, Omni-Channel and Personalised Experiences are the central chapters of this report and they tell two very different tales. For most, there’s little progress on integrating contact centres with digital or using AI/Data to impact CX. For the best performers however, AI is the key focus. While 78% are advancing personalisation (up from 50%) in some form, few can allocate based on recent contacts (28%), let alone access fully automated (14%) or predictive (3%) systems. Two thirds (66%) have no cross-channel contact management strategy and just a quarter claim good consistency. “Don’t just use a channel because it is there”, NTT say, “The key is harmonising technology capability with people, operations, and design. … do the hard work in the background so that the front end is effortless”. Read more about our members experience of this in chapter 4 of this guide.  

UK Contact Centres in 2020

The Contact Babel report gives a UK focus, with a mix of small (<50 seat) or medium (50-200) centres as well as larger operations. It shows a heavy focus on investment in digital channels, but some strong sector variations. By far the most popular channel for urgent contacts was self-service via Web or App, with all age groups. Yet, for high complexity contacts, visiting a branch or store was most preferred, despite a drop during the pandemic, by 27% (55+), 20% (45+) and 15%-18% for other ages. This was followed by the phone or webchat, depending on demographic, and self-service. 

Technology Takeup

Most respondents felt that lack of technology did hold back customer experience; almost half of small and large centres described it as a major problem. In terms of those using specific technologies, Gamification (13%), AI (16%) and Process Automation (20%) were low but a massive 31% are looking to deploy AI in the coming year. Other technologies are widespread, with few having no plans yet to implement in Webchat (8%), Social Media (14%), Mobile App (19%), WFM (16%) or contact analytics (24%). Few currently use an App (33%) or analytics (22%) or Webchat (41%), all key development areas for these centres.    

Pandemic Impact & advisor wellbeing 

Contact Babel found that a third of centres had experienced no operational issues due to the pandemic that impacted customer experience. Just 18% had seen major problems, mainly due to volumes (eg in retail/manufacturing), budgets or remote working setup. Very few reported staff absences as a significant problem. This data relates to 2020, but the 2021 report is being surveyed now. Crucially early impact on contact volumes was very different in different organisations. 

A Calabrio report shows where agents carry the burden. 56% say dealing with complex issues is the most challenging part of their role. 45% expect customers to want more, faster, but do not feel equipped to deliver. 37% cite the inconsistency of customer experience across different channels. Do your people feel disconnected from the rest of the business, “alone in a sea of problems”?

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