Digital needs the human touch.

Digital technology is fast transforming the global contact centre industry. Organisations now recognise customer experience (CX) as a key differentiator. It’s become the top indicator of strategic performance in the boardroom — it’s also emerged as a driver for self- and assisted-service contact channel options. Yet this year’s Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report highlights that digital channels could be more powerful if shown more of a ‘human touch’.

2016 Key findings

Digital interactions dominate
The Report shows that digital volumes handled by contact centres remain on track to exceed phone contacts by the end of 2016. Growth in almost every digital channel contrasts with a 12% shrinkage of phone in the split of interactions handled by contact centre. It’s emerged that CX is now the top reason for offering self-assisted service channels, ahead of cost.  However, two in five respondents say digital technology isn’t meeting business needs.

CX recognised as a clear differentiator
CX dominates the service revolution as organisations mature their approaches towards digital, and develop better quality migration paths towards digital. Some four in five organisations recognise CX — and the contact centre — as a competitive differentiator. It’s also the most important indicator of strategic performance for boardrooms, as analytics help organisations better link the impact of CX back to sales revenues, cost reduction, customer loyalty, and employee engagement.

Connecting the customer journey … by design
The demand for a seamless CX is the top industry trend affecting contact centres in 2016.  As customer journeys span a combination of the nine different contact channels now being offered by most contact centres, organisations are intent on connecting the journey, and improving consumer experiences. Full channel integration (i.e. omnichannel capability) is set to treble within the next two years. Customer journey mapping has emerged as a top five-year trend alongside analytics that will reshape the industry.  But for now capability is lacking and just 17.4% of respondents can locate problem hotspots. 

Proactive automation
It’s clear from the Report that digital channels will drive proactive outbound activity, pre-empting customer needs and reducing costs — 31.0% of respondents have capability now, but this is set to rise to 57.2% by the end of 2016. Proactive automation comes in third, behind phone and email, for initiating contact on service enquiry updates (17.2%), sales and marketing (21.1%), and default notifications (24.0%).

The Internet of Things emerges on the horizon too, as customer journey analysis identifies opportunity to reduce call propensity.

Analytics and service personalisation
The power of data analytics is helping organisations offer an enhanced choice tailored to the customer to deliver a more personalised CX. Personalisation of services will become even more important and this will be enabled by analytics. It was voted the top trend that will change the industry in next five years. However, some 79.4% of organisations still have no big picture view of interactions across service channels.

The ability to pre-identify and segment customers has increased for a third year in a row.

Cloud and hybrid solutions
Motiving to the cloud, in one form or another, is fast becoming an industry standard, as contact centres recognise its value in providing one seamless customer touchpoint. 

We see that plans to locate technology in the cloud are trebling, with a majority of organisations leaning towards a hybrid cloud solution that blends legacy systems with new solutions.

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Key findings

2016 Benchmarking Report


of companies recognise CX as a competitive differentiator


recognise CX as their most important strategic performance measure

Personalisation of services will be key and enabled by analytics - voted top trend that will change the industry in the next 5 years - 79.4% have no big picture view


can evidence cost savings via improved CX


say CX increases company revenue/profits

Connected customer journeys, CX, and contact resolution top focus as most contact centres head to 9 channel options

Omnichannel top trend for 2016

Integration capability set to triple from 22.4% to 74.6% in next two years

CX is now top reason for offering self-/assisted-service channels (ahead of cost reduction)

But digital channels being hindered by absence of focus

Mobile apps

A top three choice for CS with everyone under 55 yrs

2 in 5 say digital tech not meeting business needs as demand soars

Cloud in some form now a must for contact centres


planning for it. Just 23.1% to retain technology on premise

Hybrid solutions set to treble and enable a single integrated platform

Highlights of the 2016 report