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New CX Research from Deloitte Digital, UserTesting, Vonage, Alchemer, and Balto

Topics Cover Contact Center Operations, CX Research, Consumer Preferences on SMBs, App Ratings, and Boosting Contact Center Efficiency

Deloitte Digital: Contact Center Operations Are Changing, and Leaders Are Being Responsive

New realities are driving the transformation of contact center operations, and service organizations are building new pathways toward better service quality, scalability, and cost, reveals the new report, 2023 Global Contact Center Survey, from digital creative consultancy Deloitte Digital.

Among the trends of the past two years that have altered the contact center landscape are work-from-home programs that have become integral, the adoption of cloud technologies to support remote work, and advances in AI and predictive analytics that continue to expand the possibilities for intelligent automation, self-service, and agent enablement. Furthermore, the pressures of a slowing global economy and a tight talent market are rewriting the playbook for effective, efficient customer service.

A biennial survey, the report sheds light on important subjects, including talent initiatives, cloud-based solutions, and channel orchestration.

On operations and talent retention, for instance, the report states that 63% of contact center leaders face staffing shortages, forcing leaders to be more creative and proactive not only in finding and hiring agents, but also in retaining current employees.

In the area of transforming operations through technology, the report notes that despite economic uncertainty, 50% of companies are modernizing infrastructure as a top investment priority, and that 1 in 3 deploy agent-enabling technology as a top concern.  

And to elevate CX, channel investment remains a high priority, with 69% of survey respondents saying they plan to expand—or keep expanding—their service channels within the next two years.

“The 2023 report was very clear,” says Timothy E. McDougal, managing director at Deloitte Digital, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “Post-pandemic impacts on technology enablement, talent acquisition and retention, and an enhanced customer experience mean that processes for constant improvement, scalability, and change management need to be baked into every aspect of contact center operations.”

UserTesting: Organizations Are Investing More in CX Research Than a Decade Ago

A new report from San Francisco-based software firm UserTesting reveals that organizations have greatly increased their investment in CX research over the course of the past decade.

According to the 2023 Experience Research Industry Report, demand for experience research—the term that the company uses to describe interest in human insights—has continued to increase since UserTesting’s first report on the subject was published in 2013. At present, approximately 61% of respondents say demand for such research is increasing in their organization, and 90% say that their budgets for CX research have either increased or stayed the same during the past year.

Moreover, the value of experience research grows as more teams within an organization leverage the insights and findings obtained from the research, the report notes. The value of the research, respondents say, translates into greater customer satisfaction (75%), higher revenue (69%), improved brand perception (68%), and reduced costs and better risk mitigation (51%).

Finally, the research shows that organizations are becoming more systematic in the practice of user testing and user research. In 2013, 64% of respondents then said their organization did not have usability teams. Fast-forward to today, and the same percentage—64%–say their companies now have dedicated teams to help scale human insights and put into operation experience research processes. Additionally, 82% report that user feedback is now incorporated into their daily processes and decision-making, underscoring the value and impact of experience research on their business.

Vonage: Consumers Reveal Their Communication Preferences in Dealing with SMBs  

Quick resolution and access to multiple customer communication channels are two of the top expectations that consumers have when they interact with small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), according to a new survey by cloud communications provider Vonage.

In fact, 29% of the survey’s respondents say that fast response time is their top expectation when interacting with SMBs that use chatbots, voice recognition, or any AI communications tool. Additionally, respondents prioritize faster resolutions when they include voice (27%) and video (25%) engagement. And among those who engage with SMBs through video, 42% indicate that they are looking for a human connection without needing to meet in person.

For SMBs looking to determine which communication channels to offer customers, the survey shows that 23% of respondents rank voice calls first. Voice also reigns supreme for the healthcare (33%) and professional services (32%) industries, respectively, choosing voice calls as their preferred communications channel. For retail SMBs, however, 32% of respondents indicated they prefer email, followed by voice (25%).

The survey also revealed that 60% of respondents view SMBs that do not provide access or support through multiple communications channels as being less favorable, even though they would still work with the SMB. However, at least 16% indicated they would view the business as less favorable and not work with the SMB again in the future. These findings demonstrate that to exceed customer expectations and achieve continued customer loyalty, it is important for SMBs to offer a variety of communications channels to connect with customers.

Alchemer: Higher App Ratings Are Tied to Customer Satisfaction

A new study from Alchemer, the Colorado-based provider of an enterprise online survey and CX platform, shows that higher app ratings, reviews, and retention are directly tied to closing the loop with customers. In its eighth annual Mobile Customer Engagement Benchmark Report, the company formerly known as Apptentive presents analysis and key findings of trends unfolding in the mobile app landscape during the past year. The findings are based on data from more than 1 billion mobile app installations supplied by customers of Alchemer Mobile, a part of Alchemer’s customer feedback platform that also includes Alchemer Survey and Alchemer Workflow. The report covers various industries, including media and entertainment, finance, food and drink, healthcare, personal services, shopping, travel, utilities, business services, and education.

Overall, the 2023 report found that customer sentiment, retention, reviews, and ratings all showed significant improvement when mobile app owners followed up and took action or addressed issues that had been raised by a customer.

“The business landscape for app publishers is evolving quickly and continuously,” says Ryan Tamminga, senior vice president for product and services at Alchemer. “Year over year, the Benchmark Report has consistently shown that when app publishers ask for customer feedback and immediately action that feedback, major improvements in key metrics are the result. This report highlights for app publishers the best ways to immediately strengthen performance and customer sentiment using the Alchemer Mobile in-app feedback solution.”

The Alchemer in-app customer feedback platform helps app providers measure shifts in customer emotion and gather actionable feedback across their mobile customer journeys. Using proactive mobile communication tools, Alchemer Mobile can strengthen customer understanding to manage brand reputation, create seamless customer experiences, and validate product roadmaps.

Balto: Technology Can Help Contact Centers

Technology can help contact centers improve efficiency despite tightening company budgets and uncertain economic times, states the new report from Balto, the Missouri-based provider of a cloud contact center solution dispensing real-time guidance to center agents. Balto’s 2023 Contact Center Report: How Contact Center Leaders Are Improving Efficiency and Doing More With Less, is the result of a survey of more than 400 contact center managers, directors, and executives, and is published by the Conversation Excellence Lab, Balto’s hub for academic-level research.

With executives pressed to find areas to save costs and operate more efficiently, contact centers have been at work to meet expectations that necessitate high-quality agent interactions. “Amidst economic uncertainty and the landscape of layoffs, we wanted to understand how contact center leaders were faring,” says Lior Torenberg, director of research content at Balto. “Efficiency seems to be the word of the year: leaders are feeling significant pressure to create greater outputs out of the same, or fewer, inputs. And technology, we found in this report, is a way to do just that.”

The report also provides details on a number of current hot-button issues—where technology is being used as a deflection tool against economic uncertainty, for instance; and the growing landscape for AI technology, including how and why contact center leaders are investing in AI tools to brace for change.

Author Information

Alex is responsible for writing about trends and changes that are impacting the customer experience market. He had served as Principal Editor at Village Intelligence, a Los Angeles-based consultancy on technology impacting healthcare and healthcare-related industries. Alex was also Associate Director for Content Management at Omdia and Informa Tech, where he produced white papers, executive summaries, market insights, blogs, and other key content assets. His areas of coverage spanned the sectors grouped under the technology vertical, including semiconductors, smart technologies, enterprise & IT, media, displays, mobile, power, healthcare, China research, industrial and IoT, automotive, and transformative technologies.

At IHS Markit, he was Managing Editor of the company’s flagship IHS Quarterly, covering aerospace & defense, economics & country risk, chemicals, oil & gas, and other IHS verticals. He was Principal Editor of analyst output at iSuppli Corp. and Managing Editor of Market Watch, a fortnightly newsletter highlighting significant analyst report findings for pitching to the media. He started his career in writing as an Editor-Reporter for The Associated Press.

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