One of the big conclusions from Deloitte’s 2017 global contact center survey was that contact centers would see a shift in their primary function. To quote the survey: “Only three percent of companies responding consider revenue growth to be the primary driver for their contact center. Instead, close to 90% name improving customer experience as a strategic focus.”
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In 2015, 78% of executives identified “growth of business” as the main driver of the contact center growth. In 2017 this dropped to 43%. By contrast, 88% of executives identified “customer experience” as the leading driver of contact center growth in 2017, up from 71% in 2015.
When asked to predict importance of cost, revenue and customer satisfaction in the contact center two years from now, the most common response was “customer experience will be the most important (46%).” The least common response was “revenue will be the most important (3%).”
These survey respondents are all coming to the same conclusion, and it’s no accident. While there’s been a shift away from a direct focus on revenue in the contact center, the attention put on improving customer experience is just a move to focus on things that indirectly generate revenue. It’s long been known that it’s much more cost-effective to keep existing customers than to acquire new ones, so while a better customer experience might not drive revenue during the support interaction (it will likely cost you money to go out of your way to help a customer), retaining the customer will benefit the company in the long run.
In the age of instant social sharing, every customer can now turn into a public advocate or critic in just moments. With all these new channels for word of mouth references, companies that make the effort to improve their customer experience can reap rewards not only from retained customers, but also from indirect positive interactions with that customer’s network of social connections.
This overall focus on customer experience is a bigger strategy that appeared to be driving several of the other major conclusions of the survey. The focus on customers affected the way contact center executives prioritized communication channels, collected user feedback, made technological investments and coordinated staffing plans. Across responses to every question in the survey, contact center executives are make decisions to lower customer effort, increase personalization, streamline the customer journey and implement customer feedback.
The takeaway is from this report is twofold. First, that a focus on improving customer experience is still a focus on revenue, with a shift away from specific transactions that generate funds in favor of a focus on the individual customers instead. The second big learning is that a customer-first strategy is a decision that affects every part of a company, not just the contact center.
To understand more about how an agile, cloud-based contact center opens the door for companies to focus on their customers, click the button below.