Human cost and productivity are being challenged as automated solutions improve

Darren Arnold

Strategy Director, Merchants Limited, a Dimension Data subsidiary company

Darren has operated in the CX space in Europe and the Middle East and Africa for over twenty years. With many years of experience in managing large scale operations, both captive and outsourced across multiple verticals.

To really deliver an optimised customer journey, it becomes apparent that the silos of old need to be broken down and organisational structures, beyond just the contact centre, must become integrated, physically, as well as on process maps.


Darren Arnold
Video: Chapter introduction and key findings from the author

The major operational trends to look forward to are proactive service and personalisation driven by technology, big data and analytics. Anticipating customer needs ahead of time is a potential contact avoidance measure and cost saver, opportunity for upselling/cross-selling, a positive force for improved customer experience, and in many cases, a huge opportunity for reducing churn.

Productivity and the human cost of CX are being challenged as automated solutions improve. There’s evidence of a clear breakdown between the strategic relevance of CX and operational management techniques, as complexity and commercial pressures increase. Productivity has replaced first contact resolution as the top operational focus. CX performance, the top strategic performance indicator, drops to third top priority.

The benchmarking results highlight significant inconsistency in operational process between new digital and traditional CX channels. Ease of resolution is what counts most to the customer, but cross-channel delivery is inconsistent, and overall, performance levels are falling short. Operational structures and design need to go digital if they are to keep up with evolving customer demands.

Take a closer look at the numbers

Customer satisfaction measured


C-SAT scores
Actual = 68.4, target = 73.5
used by 69.6% of operations


Customer effort scores (CES)
Actual = 50.8, target = 58.3 
used by 43.9% of operations


Net Promoter Scores (NPS™)
Actual = 34.0, target = 37.8
used by 15.8% of operations

How is operational performance targeted?

1 Agent productivity
2 Time to answer SLA’s
3 CX performance
4 First contact resolution 
5 Quality

We say

1 Ease of resolution counts most towards CX
2 First call resolution (and CXs) on digital paths are lagging phone
3 Operational structures and processes need to get digitally aligned

CX - The uncomfortable truth: Performance falls short of targets as a focus on service fails to keep up with evolving customer demands.

Tracking the real customer outcomes

Measure customer value


Measure customer churn

A day in the life of a CX agent


Handling interactions


Waiting for customers


Meetings/briefing, scheduled breaks, unscheduled other, and coaching

For more information on these statistics and others see the global customer Experience (CX) Benchmark Report

How do you measure up?

Benchmarking provides a vitally important reference point. It helps you gain insight into future trends, the ways in which your customers are likely to behave, and the performance levels you need to attain or aspire to. Attend a local event to personalise your results and get next steps. Register your interest here.

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About Dimension Data

Dimension Data harnesses the transformative power of technology to help organisations achieve great things in the digital era. Customer experience (CX) forms part of Dimension Data’s Customer Experience (CX) and Collaboration Business Unit and enables over 7 billion customer interactions a year. We have over 33 years’ experience in planning, designing, integrating, and managing contact centres for our clients globally.

Case studies

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