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Delivering World-Class CX: Where Does Your Enterprise Stand?
As enterprises look to stay ahead of customer demands, many organizations have not only stressed the importance of providing customer service at every level of their business, but they have invested heavily in technology to create a more seamless customer experience (CX). While cloud-based contact-center-as-a-service (CCaaS) technologies have become the standard for many organizations, contact centers and their leaders are focusing on a range of different IT projects and initiatives designed to make CX more seamless and impactful.
At Enterprise Connect’s virtual event on September 28, 2022, "Facing the Tough Issues on Hybrid Work: How Communications Technology Will Support New Ways of Working,” Robin Gareiss, CEO and principal analyst for Metrigy, shared her insight on where contact centers stand with their CX transformation plans, how they are (or not) leveraging the cloud, and the specific technology they are investing to improve CX.
Contact Centers Initiatives Focus on Self-Service, Security, More
Starting with a broad look at CX, Gareiss defined CX transformation initiatives as being “an innovative application of either of new or existing technology that improves the customer and/or agent experience, ultimately driving that measurable business value.”
Out of the 724 global enterprises surveyed by Metrigy in April of this year, 27.2% of them have CX transformation initiatives underway or completed, 25.3% have them planned for 2022, 16.2% have them planned for 2023 or beyond, 16.4% are considering when to make their plans, 9.8% have no plans, and 5.2% are unsure of their plans.
When it comes to what those specific plans entailed, Gareiss shared that in an effort to improve their CX approaches, enterprises are investing in a host of different capabilities, from boosting security to providing agents with more functionality. Leading the enterprise investments in key CX transformation initiatives are cloud-based applications at 41.5%, followed by self-service capabilities at 38.3%, and then networking tools designed to bolster work-from-home environments at 34.4%. Rounding out the list of top initiatives are agent analytics (32.9%), improving fraud prevention (32.2%), and integrating contact centers with other apps.
Outside of enhanced tools and services, another area where contact centers are focusing their efforts —and seeing returns on their investments — is by integrating one or more disparate systems, which can include CCaaS, UCaaS, CPaaS, and CRM systems. Metrigy research has CCaaS and UCaaS integrations have also been shown to improve customer ratings, increase employee efficiency, improve revenues, and reduce operational costs. On average, enterprises saw an 11.6% increase in customer ratings, a 7.7% reduction in operational costs, an 11.9% increase in revenue, and a 13.7% boost in employee efficiency. Additionally, Metrigy's success group, which they classify as receiving above-average results on transforming their technologies, saw approximately a two-fold increase in these numbers.
CCaaS Gains a Majority Stake, Holdouts Remain
CCaaS has taken the largest piece of the infrastructure pie, Gareiss said. According to Metrigy's survey, 48.6% of contact centers are purely cloud-based now, while purely on-premises only account for 6.2% of contact center deployments. Additionally, 14.6% of enterprises have a private hosted service (a designated server managed by a third party), 14.3% have a hybrid approach (including a mix of cloud, hosted, and/or on-prem), and 10.9% only have their server hosted by a third party and manage themself, and the remaining percentage of survey respondents were unsure of their current contact center environment.
Though CCaaS was the highest percentage of contact center deployments, Gareiss acknowledged that some enterprises still have concerns with CCaaS, and some have even returned to on-prem systems. Echoing previous CCaaS concerns, Gareiss shared several reasons why some enterprises are moving back to on-prem, including: security is better on-prem (54.5%), app customization is better on-prem (40.9%), and CCaaS has too many outages (40.9%).
"I would say that in general, companies are pretty happy with ... the pace of innovation in the cloud. But if you're a company who has been on-prem for a long time — and you have a huge staff and huge development resources — you may be able to innovate faster, and so therefore, you're going to return on-premises,” Gareiss said. "Others will say it's too expensive. If you're not going to reduce costs after going from on-prem to the cloud, like for example [by reducing] some of your staffing, it's going to be more expensive to stay ... in the cloud."
Looking to the Future: Contact Centers Embrace Different Working Styles
While cloud and AI-based technologies are likely to shape contact center organizations moving forward, they aren’t the only elements at play, as Gareiss wrapped up her presentation by looking at how another factor is changing contact centers: the future of work.
When Metrigy asked enterprises about where contact center agents will work moving forward, they received a range of answers, including:
- 9.4% said agents will work from home indefinitely.
- 15.0% said that they will continue working from home in some capacity but deciding on that now.
- 16.6% said all agents will work from home and the office, part-time (i.e., hybrid work)
- 17.2% said all agents will work from the office.
- 17.8% said some designated agents will work from home full-time, and others from the office.
- 24.1% said they were still evaluating their plans
Among some of the top reasons for continuing with some version of working from home, enterprises noted flexibility in scheduling during periods of high call volumes (39.1%), cost savings (37.8%), and employees being more productive working from home (31.6%).
(See related: Future of Work: Considering the Contact Center)
“What's driving those decisions to continue working from home … [is the] flexibility in scheduling, cost savings, employees are more productive, [and] the turnover will increase if they go back to the office. They can get new people and new regions. There are all sorts of good reasons for continuing to work from home,” Gareiss said. “For companies who are struggling with those high turnover rates for [or those] companies who really want the employee experience, I think you need to be flexible here. You need to provide that office environment for those who want or need it, and you need to provide the home offices for the same."
Adding new functionality to improve the overall customer or agent experience, supporting a range of working styles, and other factors (like troubling economic news) will continue to shape how contact centers operate and ultimately deliver on CX. If the Metrigy research is any indication, enterprises have the decision-making framework to figure out on their own terms what's best for their organization, and more importantly, their customers.