To get there. Together.The Digital Evolution Journeyof the Contact CentreWhat is the future for voice in a digital world?Point of view


1. Executive SummaryThe widespread adoption of digital devices andperpetual connectivity is changing the waycustomers want to communicate with organisations.Conversations are no longer limited to the traditionalvoice channel, instead, customers expect to engagewith companies seamlessly across multiple channelslike chat, mobile, video and social media.They are:To understand how companies are responding to thesetrends, BearingPoint carried out a study with 45 globalcompanies across industries with contact centres thatare leading the way.Ultimately, the transition to an interactive engagementcentre enables faster resolution of customer issuesto reduce operational costs, increased engagementopportunities with customers to drive cross-sell andupsell and improved customer experience to driveloyalty and satisfaction, all of which ultimately driveprofitability. It allows companies to communicatewith customers on their own terms and better meettheir changing needs and demands. With an everevolving menu of communications options andcustomer expectations only likely to grow, companiesembracing digital will have a unique opportunity togain a significant competitive advantage.The findings highlighted that the contact centre ischanging in form and purpose: It is evolving into aninteractive engagement centre, where customersare serviced across integrated digital and telephonychannels.Three main areas emerged as driving forces behindthis transition: strategy; organisation and culture; thetechnologies and tools being introduced. In particular,there are 6 technologies that are increasingly beingexploited by companies to enable the digital customerexperience.1. Intelligent FAQs2. Intelligent Live Chat3. Video Chat4. Co-Browsing5. Social CRM6. MobileFigure 1: The contactcentre’s new ecosystemPoint of view3

2. Research MethodologyBearingPoint undertook a comprehensive study toexplore how the development of digital channels isimpacting the way companies run their contact centres.In particular, the study addressed what technologiesare being used, how agent roles are being shaped andwhat strategies are being adopted to drive customerengagement.45 companies in the transport, financial services,media and telecoms industries from Europe and NorthAmerica participated in the study. They were selecteddue to their demonstration of digital innovation,market influence and customer engagement; withdigital activities ranging from sales and servicing toupsell and cross sell.Following the analysis of the study results, withinthe selection, two clear segments emerged: leadingcompanies and average players. This distinction waslargely driven by industry type – certain industries suchas telecom and media are clearly ahead in terms ofcontact centre digital adoption:4Point of view Leading companies represent nearly 50% ofrespondents and are largely from the telecoms,media and financial services industries. Theseorganisations engage with their customers across abroad range of digital channels and are characterisedby their integrated voice with digital offerings. Theyhave a strong propensity to further invest in theirdigital capability. Average players represent almost 40% ofrespondents and are mainly from the transport andautomotive industries. These companies engagewith their customers across a low to mediumrange of digital channels. Their priority is to furtherunderstand customer needs and expectations withinthe digital arena.After analysis, 10% of the respondents were excludedfrom the results as they had not displayed sufficientmaturity in use of digital channels to provide theinsights required to support the study.We would like to thank all the participants andcontributors for their valuable time.

3. The Digital Strategy JourneyHIGHLIGHTSThe role of the contact centre is changing. It is nolonger simply focused on sales and/or servicing butalso on exploiting opportunities to deepen customerengagement.The new strategy is to: Increase customer engagement by offering adifferentiated experience that integrates the humantouch within digital channels. Combine the right channel strategy and proactivecontact by guiding customers to the mostappropriate channel for their query. Improve customer satisfaction and sales revenuethrough the use of digital channels. Exploit cross-selling opportunities with personalisedand tailored offers in the customer’s chosen digitalchannel.Figure 2: The digital strategy journey from call centre to interactive engagement centrePoint of view5

3.1 INCREASE CUSTOMERENGAGEMENTLeading companies are investing in tools thatincrease customer engagement by integrating thehuman touch in digital experiences.Digital tools can increase engagement by integratingthe human touch in a digital experience. In addition,although some tools are higher cost than voice, theireffectiveness in resolving customer queries and meansthat overall, they play a key role in managing costs.Traditionally, reducing cost to serve or sell was the keyobjective of most contact centres. Recently however,leading companies are also embracing opportunities toengage more with their customers in order to deepenthe relationship, increase advocacy and differentiatethemselves from their competitors.Figure 3: Correlation of cost per contact with level of differentiation offered by channel6Point of view

3.2 RIGHT CHANNEL STRATEGY ANDPROACTIVE CONTACTLeading companies are channelling customercontacts to new digital channels based on the typeof query. They also use proactive contact duringcomplex interactions to ensure the customer’s issueis resolved.To control costs and ensure the quality of theexperience, companies are moving from a multichannel strategy that allows customers to use allchannels for all contact reasons, to a “right channel”strategy. Here, customers are guided to the mostappropriate channel for their query.For example, leading companies are using channels inthe following ways: Voice is still used for the majority of enquiries,although customers may be routed first through IVR.For complaints and account closing, voice is activelyencouraged. Intelligent FAQs are used for information and servicequeries. They drive efficiency by cutting down thevolume of contacts and encouraging customers toself-serve.Figure 4: Channels used by companies according to query type Social is becoming established as a channel forservicing and complaint queries. Although leadersare aware of the opportunity for sales, none havefully exploited this opportunity yet. Video chat is emerging but only leading companiesuse this as a communication channel.Leading companies often guide customers to the“right channel” by either educating, incentivisingor penalising them for use of certain channels forcertain types of contacts. Sometimes customers areempowered to make their own decision about whichis the “right channel” and are given visibility of agentavailability, wait times and position in the queue.This can result in them using self-serve or a call-backfeature.In addition to right channelling, leading companiesalso proactively contact customers who appear to needhelp during complex interactions. Here, customers whohave spent a particular amount of time on a web pageare proactively offered human help, usually through alive chat channel.Point of view7

3.3 DRIVING CUSTOMERSATISFACTION & SALESA right channel strategy and proactive contactapproach that uses both digital and traditionalchannels improves the level of customer satisfactionas well as sales revenue.By combining a right channel approach with proactivecontact, leading companies have improved salesrevenues with as much as a 25% increase in conversionrates. Overall satisfaction also increased in all channels,particularly video chat and co-browsing. Below aresome of the benefits realised by leading companies inthe different channels: Voice calls have the strongest impact on sales andcustomer satisfaction; it is preferentially used forhigh value customers. Use of live chat has increased sales for 40% ofleading companies. 50% of leading companies have seen an increasein satisfaction rates with the implementation ofintelligent FAQs, secure email and co-browsing.Figure 5: Impact on sales and customer satisfaction after having implementedany of the following channels for leading companies8Point of view

3.4 OPTIMISE CROSS AND UP SELLINGOPPORTUNTIESLeading companies are investing in web analytics andcustomer intelligence to optimise cross and up sellingopportunities.All leading companies are investing in analytics toprovide better intelligence to enable cross and up sellusing a combination of digital and traditional channels.For example, a customer is sent a promotion via emailwhich prompts them to go to the company’s website.To encourage the customer to redeem the offer, anagent proactively reaches out to them by phonecall or intelligent chat. The agent can further tailorthe offer based on the customer’s history as well asprovide additional offers. This personalised and timelyapproach leads to greater cross sell and upsell success.STRATEGY INSIGHTS No leading company had an explicitstrategy to become an interactiveengagement centre. It has been anevolution rather than a revolution withincremental responses to technologyadvances and customer behaviourchanges. Most entered social media without aholistic strategy, but have since developeda deliberate “social channel strategy”with variances between customers andprospects. Clear results have been demonstratedwith increased sales and customersatisfaction.Figure 6: Use of channels to support cross and up-selling activitiesPoint of view9

4. The Organisational and Cultural Digitial JourneyHIGHLIGHTSIn order to support the digital journey, the contactcentre’s organisational model is evolving. The neworganisation and cultural model requires: The development of multi-skilled teams withspecific subject matter experts who canenhance both voice and digital customerinteractions. Up-skilling agents to improve their digital skillsand emotional intelligence. Increasing agent autonomy and responsibilityto drive successful integration of voice anddigital channels. Placing an increased focus on customersatisfaction as a way to monitor and managecontact centre performance.4.1 MOVE TO MULTI-SKILLED TEAMSLeading companies are moving their organisationalmodels from digitally dedicated agents to multiskilled teams to provide an enhanced customerexperience.Most companies begin the journey to interactiveengagement centre by creating separate dedicatedteams for voice and digital. For example, a financialservices company has a team of 4 people dedicated toservicing customers in social media.The next stage is a hybrid approach. Here, some agentsare purely dedicated to either voice or digital whileothers can switch between channels. For example, anautomotive company has 6 people dedicated to socialmedia and 20 agents who have social media as part oftheir wider roles.The most mature organisations are moving towardsan integrated model where agents support bothvoice and digital. For example, a travel company hasFigure 7: Organisational and culturaldigital journey – from call centre toInteractive engagement centreCall centre Dedicated model Integrated model Autonomous agents Internal record Conversational Process drivenPoint of viewInteractive centre Hierarchical / escalation Mono skilled and multimanagementskilled agents Mono skilled agents Emotional Intelligenceand emerging PR profile Real-time voice Average handling time10Contact centre Hybrid model Real-time written Traceable External record First time resolution Multi-skilled experts Emotional Intelligenceand PR profile Real-time written and“face-time” Internal and externaltransparency

implemented a new solution to provide its agentswith multichannel capabilities including voice, e-mail,web chat, IM and SMS messaging. This approachgives companies flexibility and increased efficiencywhen managing agent resource across the channels.Similarly, customers are able to interact with the sameagent across different channels to get their issuesresolved.4.2 DEVELOP AGENT DIGITAL SKILLSIn order to multi-skill their teams, leading companiesare up-skilling staff and adopting recruitmentstrategies to exploit digital skills.On the journey to interactive engagement centre,companies are both up-skilling and recruiting agents tobring in new expertise. The key focus is on developingverbal and written skills as well as encouraging agentautonomy. Three main skill-set profiles exist:1. Basic profile: The focus is on improving the writingskills of agents as they interact with customersmainly through email and SMS.2. Collaborative profile: The focus of these agentsis improving both verbal and written skills asthey interact with customers through live chat,co-browsing, video chat or call.3. Autonomous profile: These agents are highly skilledin understanding their impact on the brand and havea deep knowledge of the relevant compliance andregulation rules as they operate in digital channels.They have strong written and verbal skills and highlevels of autonomy and responsibility.The profiles are associated with different communicationmethods that vary in terms of the level of exposure andrisk and the ability to respond in real-time.Figure 8: Correlation between the levels ofrisk of the channel with its degree of realtime communicationsPoint of view11