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The contact center will evolve to a full engagement center

As the lines blur between customer service, marketing and sales, the contact center is the hub for all customer interactions. From next-best-action prompts that mesh marketing and service to chatbot-based recommendations that blend service and sales, the contact center is fast becoming a full customer engagement center.

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John gamberoni

Managing Director and Global Contact Center Lead, Accenture

The lines are blurring between sales, marketing and service in delivering end-to-end enterprise experiences with the customer at the center. According to CXOs Accenture interviewed in July 2020, 77% agreed that investing in CX is a priority, up from 38% before the COVID-19 pandemic.

And at the heart of CX — particularly as businesses have shifted to digital engagement models — is the contact center. It’s become the middle of the universe for customer interactions.

Cutting costs won’t keep you relevant

Companies that embrace a “value creator” view of the contact center substantially outperform those that continue to perceive it as a cost center. Yet a recent Accenture survey of 2,000 CX leaders found that just 20% of respondents see the contact center as a value center and growth driver. Further analysis found that these organizations grew revenue three-and-a-half times more than the other 80% over a two-year period.

Bringing the contact center under the leadership of a CXO allows businesses to achieve this strategic shift. Having a Chief Customer Officer or Chief Experience Officer with a broad perspective lead cross-functional discussions is vital to breaking down siloed views of the customer.

Companies that embrace a “value creator” view of the contact center substantially outperform those that continue to perceive it as a cost center.

Connecting sales, marketing and service

Technology is accelerating the need for companies to effectively deliver end-to-end experiences. Artificial intelligence (AI)-based conversational ads, for example, create connections across sales, marketing and service. A customer might come across an online ad for a product or service and start interacting with it to learn more information. At some point, the customer needs to speak with a real person and is then routed to the contact center, where an agent closes the sale.

Mapping out customer journeys allows an organization to think end-to-end. Why are customers calling or starting a chat? Where are the interactions occurring and how can we optimize them?

AI can provide answers. If you understand the complete journey, you can determine where to be proactive, what interactions to digitize and where human interactions are critical. And when you optimize the channel mix and interaction models, you can see the added value being delivered.

Mutually beneficial for employees and customers

Companies are experiencing massive attrition as employees continue to re-evaluate their values and goals during the pandemic. In organizations with a customer-centric culture that elevates the role of the contact center, employees continually develop new skills and have a greater career trajectory. In one recent report, we found the companies in the top 25th percentile on employee experience had a customer satisfaction score 2X higher than others.

In the future, the contact center will be viewed as an engagement hub; it’ll be measured on how it delivers exceptional experiences to customers and employees — as well as its contribution to topline results.

Learn more about the state of customer experience