UKCCF in partnership with Customer engagement services leader VoiceSage, have published in-depth market research that presents a true snapshot of the reality of the UK’s contact centre market.
The 2017 UKCCF Proactive Customer Service Study details how brands are creating more personalised service, and introducing SMS and automated voice alongside more traditional customer contact channels such as phone and email.
Fully-integrated information and contact routing systems on their way
The research examined the mechanics of customer contact as well as the important aspect of personalisation, which Gartner identifies as the dominant factor in CX (Customer Experience). The UKCCF and VoiceSage survey revealed that the majority of organisations, 56%, map the customer journey, while a further 20% said that they are working on it.
The findings also indicate a high percentage (56%) of organisations deploy or are developing (18%) fully-integrated information and contact routing systems.
What’s more, a high percentage, 69%, say they offer personalisation, and given how a further 21% say that they could offer limited personalisation, the verdict has to be that personalised outreach is increasingly the standard, report VoiceSage and the UKCCF.
When asked whether organisations proactively contacted their customers, interestingly the answer came back most definitely (75% said they are). Meanwhile, the vast majority – 87% – think that Proactive Service will save on inbound contacts to their organisations, potentially equating to millions of pounds saved each year for large customer contact operations.
Rise of alternative delivery channels for customer contact
How is that proactive work being carried out? Even in 2017, the phone remains in pole position, and the most popular choice for anything proactive by 60% of organisations, followed by email (26%), post/letter (7.5%) and SMS (6%). In non-proactive outreach, phone scores even higher, at 75%, and email 18%.
The research then looked at two emerging Proactive Service channels – SMS and Automated Voice. Over half of respondents (51%) use SMS, while 72% said they thought the use of text for proactive contact to be either ‘Effective’ or ‘Very Effective’.
Of those who’d used SMS as a Proactive Service tool, 30% said that response rates are getting either ‘Better’ or ‘A Lot Better’. Interestingly the results show that 53% of people that don’t currently use SMS thought that, if they did, it would be Effective or Very Effective.
What’s more, the survey flags the growing role of SMS, in particular with those yet to embrace proactive, showing a strong preference (37% compared with 31% for phone and 17% for email). Meanwhile, a very high 71% believed SMS technology would mean less in-bound calls for their teams, while greater use of SMS plus social media would mean agents could juggle more interactions.
Finally 19% say that they have used Automated Voice, with 58% reporting it to be ‘Effective’ in achieving what they wanted, while 75% say that response rates after its introduction are getting ‘Better’ or ‘About the Same’.
The contact centre industry is becoming more personal and more proactive
Overall, the research indicates a massive demand for Proactive Service technology and huge benefits for consumers.
It also points to similarly untapped potential for SMS, given that respondents not currently offering Proactive Service show the same strong preference for Proactive Service via SMS when asked what channel would work best for their organisation (37% for SMS versus 31% for phone and 17% for email).
Commenting on the results, VoiceSage’s CEO, James J Kett, believes the survey demonstrates the benefits and opportunities that Proactive offers, and a willingness by practitioners to embrace new mechanisms as a way to become fully omni-channel.
“The study that we created with the UK Contact Centre Forum shows the contact centre industry is becoming more personal and more proactive, which is great news.
“Meanwhile, new technology like SMS, voice and social media is gaining momentum, as they are a proven means of allowing contact specialists to handle more calls more easily and more cost effectively, all of which is much better for the business and the customer.”
Echoing the significance of the survey results, the UK Contact Centre Forum’s CEO, Trevor Butterworth, believes the results show the importance of the customer experience.
“Brands are being much more personal and proactive in terms of their outreach and beginning to embrace new channels, all of which is to be welcomed.”
The full survey report is available by completing the form below.
VoiceSage delivers proactive customer engagement solutions that help companies streamline and add value to their high-volume, outbound contact activities. Its blue chip customers include Argos (Home Retail Group), Capital One, Thames Water, AXA Insurance and Shop Direct. These and other customers rely on VoiceSage technology to help them transform credit collections, delivery and appointment confirmations, amplify marketing campaigns and support other high-volume business processes in immediate and cost-effective ways, lowering costs and improving the customer experience.
VoiceSage was founded in 2003 and has offices in the UK and Ireland. Please visit www.voicesage.com for more about us and our work with customers, or follow us on Twitter @VoiceSage
Comprising six regional user groups, the UKCCF provides a platform for call centre and customer service professionals to meet and share ideas at a local level. Monthly Executive Club meetings and Networking Seminars present the latest customer contact thinking and strategy – while Contact Centre Monthly acts as an online resource for the customer service community. The website features the latest industry news, incentive ideas, events listings, team and individual profiles, articles on strategy and technology, plus much more. www.uk-ccf.co.uk