Research Reveals Key Forces Fueling Contact Center Transformation

Advancements in artificial intelligence and predictive analytics are broadening the scope of intelligent automation, self-service options, and agent support. All of these have a major influence on contact centers, which are going through a transformation to keep up with all of the changes and advancements. Deloitte Digital has published its "2023 Global Contact Center Survey," revealing the significant shifts in contact center operations, emphasizing the growing importance of remote work programs and the utilization of cloud technologies.

"The 2023 report was very clear. Post-pandemic impacts on technology enablement, talent acquisition and retention and an enhanced customer experience mean that processes for constant improvement, scalability and change management need to be baked into every aspect of contact center operations. Connected customer experiences across all channels, with the right balance of technology and human solutions will depend on the customers you serve, industry norms and other considerations," said Timothy E. McDougal, managing director at Deloitte Digital, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

The survey revealed that customers' preferences are mostly directed towards self-service options that provide instant access and are always available. This demand for convenient, on-demand assistance has a significant influence on how customers choose to engage with brands. Additionally, customers' expectations for personalized service experiences are constantly rising, affecting their decisions to establish and maintain loyalty toward a particular brand.

Focusing on trends across talent initiatives, cloud-based solutions, and channel orchestration, some of the key findings from the survey include:

Operations and talent retention 

According to the survey, 63% of contact center leaders are dealing with staffing shortages, forcing them to adopt innovative strategies for agent recruitment and retention. Also, 69% of the surveyed organizations currently have a work-from-home program, which is an increase of 34% from 2018.

Moreover, within the next two years, 73% of organizations anticipate implementing a work-from-home program. Recognizing the need to attract and retain talent, 86% of leaders plan to increase starting wages over the next two years, as this has proven effective in filling remote positions.

Transforming operations with technology 

In spite of the uncertain economic conditions, half of the companies consider infrastructure modernization as an investment priority, while one in three prioritize the implementation of agent-enabling technology.

Over the past two years, there has been a 50% increase in the number of organizations migrating their analytics, customer relationship management (CRM), knowledge management, interaction recording, and workforce management systems to the cloud. Within the next two years, three out of four companies aim to have cloud-based interactive voice response (IVR), interaction recording, and CRM systems, while two out of three aim to have cloud-based automatic call distribution (ACD).

Furthermore, two out of three companies anticipate leveraging external partners for conversational AI and/or CRM management within the next two years. Currently, 74% of organizations are in various stages of testing or deploying customer-facing chatbots. The usage of voice/text analytics has also witnessed a significant rise, from 62% in 2020 to 81% at present.

Boosting customer experience 

Investing in service channels remains a top priority, with 69% of companies expressing their intention to expand or continue expanding their channels within the next two years.

Surprisingly, only 7% of contact centers that offer multiple service channels have the ability to seamlessly transfer customers between channels while maintaining data, history, and context for the next agent or system. To address this, 90% of leaders plan to invest in additional self-service capabilities in the next two years. Their goal is to encourage customers to engage with conversational IVRs, interactive FAQs, virtual agents, and chatbots as part of their self-service journey.