The rise of the multichannel contact centre – at long last
New research published by ContactBabel, the contact centre industry analysts, reveals that over 17% of interactions handled by UK contact centres are through email, web chat or social media.
Web chat between customers and agents has risen from 0.7% of all inbound traffic to UK contact centres to 1.3% this year, with social media appearing on the survey this year for the first time with 0.7% of interactions. Perhaps the most impressive growth has come from email, which has jumped from 10.4% to 15.4% of interactions in the past 12 months.
"The UK Contact Centre Decision-Makers' Guide (10th edition – 2012)", is a major study of 216 UK contact centre operations, looking at all areas of contact centre performance, investment, technology, HR and strategy. It is available entirely free of charge from www.contactbabel.com. The report's author, Steve Morrell, commented:
"After a great many false dawns, we can now state with confidence that the multichannel contact centre is really with us. The rise in web-initiated interactions with contact centre agents – through email, web chat and social media – has jumped from 11.4% to 17.4% in the past 12 months. There has been a corresponding decline in the proportion of interactions that are through voice traffic, with agent calls accounting for 73% (down from 78.7%) and voice self-service dropping to 3.2% from 4.2% last year.
“For a number of years, the trend has been for simple interactions to be handled through self-service, although the voice self-service channel has declined as web-based self-service has grown. As mobile, app-based self-service takes off further, this pattern will continue. The general move to the website has meant that increasing numbers of customers are choosing to stay with that channel if they need help, rather than use a phone. This has led to the increase in email and web chat, with the improvements in email response times and growing availability of web chat serving to validate these as reliable channels in the eyes of customers.”