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Industry Research : From Cost to Customer Experience

Dimension Data and its contact centre business process outsourcing (BPO) subsidiary, Merchants, have recently finalised the results of their latest Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report 2011.

"The worldwide contact centre industry is very mature," says Paul Scott, Director of Special Ventures at Merchants. "What we see from the new report is an increasing reliance on electronic interactions and less on voice."

The move to multi-channel interaction, he says, is largely driven by today's millennial generation, where things like blogs are increasingly being used as an information source. "People would rather consult the Web or their own networks to find answers, instead of picking up the phone."

These forms of interaction make it difficult for contact centres to keep track of query resolution. "We are seeing evidence that old style metrics are dead and the industry is not so reliant on measuring things like SLAs and KPIs anymore," says Scott. "The focus is now on increasing customer experience."

The report shows increasing interest in employee engagement, which also speaks to increasing the overall customer experience. "Contact centre companies are making enjoyable working environments for employees," says Scott. "Less absenteeism and staff turnover ultimately result in a better customer experience."

As a result, the industry increasingly regards contact centres as value-centres rather than cost-centres. "In 2008, 52% of contact centres were financially focused. This number is now below the 50% mark," says Scott. "Success is driven by outstanding customer experience."

Contact centre outsourcers are doing well and have embraced emerging technologies, says Scott. "Individual success is largely driven by specialisation," he says. "Outsourcers that offer a specialised solution or that offer services to a specific market or industry are the ones remaining at the top of their game."

Tech woes

When it comes to technology deployments, the industry may soon be subject to various challenges, says Scott.

As is evident of self-service technology disappointments, not enough emphasis is being placed on making technology work efficiently. "Self-service technology presents a huge opportunity, but it is not being exploited," says Scott. "This seems to be due to a communication breakdown between the technology department and the business. Because of this disconnect, operational management doesn't have the motivation to encourage the use of self-service.

"The advent of cloud technologies will force the industry to deploy technology rapidly," Scott explains. "And more time, energy, and effort needs to be invested in technology to ensure future success."

The Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report 2011 will be released on 22 June 2011. "The purpose of the report is to provide the industry with an agenda by highlighting important focus areas," Scott concludes.

Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent

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Published: Saturday, June 11, 2011

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