Contact center leaders are struggling to keep pace with ‘unrealistic’ demands.
Contact centers are struggling to deliver much-needed CX innovation while battling against rising contact volumes, agent attrition and customer churn, according to a new survey of 1000 contact center leaders in the US, UK and Australia from Censuswide.
The research, commissioned by end-to-end contact center testing specialist Hammer, has revealed an alarmingly consistent picture of contact centers close to breaking point.
With chat and call volumes on the rise for 68% of contact centers in our survey, almost as many (66%) agreed that contact volumes are spiraling beyond their capacity to handle them. Agent attrition is on the increase for 68% whilst 70% reported escalating customer churn. In addition, 67% of call center leaders say the frequency of outages has increased over the last 12 months.
Call wait times and abandoned calls are also on the increase, leading to rising levels of customer frustration, which in turn is affecting employee welfare; 66% of contact center leads reported that dealing with frustrated customers has impacted the mental health of frontline customer service employees in the last 12 months.
The survey suggests the industry is turning to technology in an attempt to avert a complete breakdown in customer service, with 96% planning to upgrade technology in the next 12-24 months. The top five areas identified for upgrades are email (14%), web chat (12%), SMS (12%), messaging apps (11%) and customer experience platforms (11%).
However, worryingly, 87% say they cannot deliver software upgrades quickly enough to meet the demands of the business, due to a lack of resource; 87% are not able to properly test these upgrades and improvement projects before they go live, 87% do not have enough resources in their developer team and 87% say their dev ops is simply not agile enough.
John d’Anna, CEO of Hammer comments:
“While it’s encouraging to see so many contact centers willing to invest in new technology, the figures relating to the lack of proper testing, are concerning and highlight the imminent disasters waiting to happen. Without end-to-end testing, improvement projects will fail to deliver the anticipated improvement and much-needed ROI.
“We’ve been seeing increasing customer dissatisfaction right across the industry during recent years. And, with hybrid working becoming the norm, delivering positive customer experiences could be all the more be challenging, causing yet more tension between contact centers and the businesses they serve.
“If we don’t get new technology right, there is a very real risk that customer frustration will continue to spiral with alarming consequences for agents’ mental health. Technology is supposed to empower agents, but organizations who rush into it, without proper planning and testing, risk doing the opposite.”
About the Survey
Hammer commissioned Censuswide to conduct research during May – June 2022. Censuswide surveyed 1,000 contact center decision makers and budget influencers in the following industries: Financial Services, Healthcare, Health Insurance, Utilities, Travel & Hospitality, Technology (SaaS companies). The survey surveyed organizations with 150 or more contact center agents in the UK and Australia, and with more than 1,000 agents in the US.
Hammer emerged from the acquisition of Empirix by Infovista and is now a division of the global leader in network lifecycle automation. The largest contact centers around the world rely on Hammer and its proven technology to guarantee optimal customer experience and business outcomes. Through automated end-to-end testing and assurance solutions that mimic real-world customer engagement, Hammer ensures its clients deliver high-quality communications across voice, IVR and digital channels.
Hammer solutions play a pivotal role in ensuring excellence in day-to-day operation of more than 250 large enterprises, including 6 of the top 10 global banks, 8 of the top 10 global healthcare organizations and 7 of the top 10 largest insurance companies. For more information visit www.hammer.com