Over the past two decades no industry has been impervious to changes in how business is done. Across so many different parts of the economy, conventional wisdom has been thrown out the window, so much so that executives are having trouble keeping up with changes in consumer patterns.
The domain of customer experience delivery is no stranger to this phenomenon; frankly it is near the forefront. How end-users interact with companies that they buy goods and services from continues to evolve, and enterprise contact center managers must avoid being behind the curve. To do so will mean lost loyalty, shrinking share of wallet, and less long-term profitability. This is a scenario that no enterprise, regardless of vertical, can afford to find themselves in.
Changes in how consumers buy from enterprises are an omnipresent shift in today’s economy. Consider a few trends evident in the UK over the past twelve months, including:
- The near collapse of high streets from Dover to Aberdeen and all points in-between. Previously the focal point of a community’s commercial activity, the once-powerful high street is now an empty shell of what it once was;
- Retailers are falling like dominos! A great example of this was the announcement at the end of 2018 that HMV was going into administration in the UK. For those of us old enough to remember anxiously awaiting our allowances to spend at this epic music retailer on the weekend, seeing its current state is nearly depressing. When one considers that HMV is one of many retail chains facing this challenge, it is even more profound to contemplate;
- Ecommerce is where it’s at… roughly one-in-five pounds spent in the UK is via online buying. By all accounts, this ratio will become even more pronounced in the coming years.
The above constitutes just some of the changes illustrating how the broader economy is shifting to take into account how consumers want to buy products and services. In 2019, there is every reason to assume that how consumers choose to interact with enterprises will be more complex and challenging than ever.
Consider the impact of digital channels, which any contact center observer can confirm have become more important than ever. In fact, the most recent Ryan Strategic Advisory Front Office Omnibus Survey of 350 enterprise customer experience professionals showed that roughly half of their workstations are enabled to deliver some type of digital component. Whether it be webchat, email, social media or instant messaging, end-users will almost certainly continue to orient themselves to non-verbal communication in the coming 12 months.
But managing these different channels remains a challenge for many enterprises. While captive CRM budgets have seen a thaw over the past two years, a majority of firms still report that their in-house spending flexibility is tight. This is a major challenge when automated front-line delivery and artificial intelligence are keys to maintaining end-user loyalty. The reality is that no contact center can be without these capabilities. Knowing today’s consumer better is the lynchpin to securing their long-term loyalty.
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Author: Peter Ryan, Principal at Ryan Strategic Advisory
About Peter Ryan
Peter Ryan has been at the forefront of contact center services market advisory for over a decade. Having began his career in London at Datamonitor in 2003, he quickly established himself as one of the foremost experts in the burgeoning CRM sector.
Over the course of his career, he has advised contact center outsourcers, their clients, industry associations and governments on matters ranging from vertical market penetration and service delivery to best practices in offshore positioning.
Peter Ryan’s expertise in outsourcing has been recognized multiple times. He was awarded callcentrehelper.com’s prestigious Best Respected Contact Center Professional in 2015 and was included in Fonolo’s Top 16 Analysts Covering Customer Experience. He was also included in each iteration of the Nearshore Americas Power 50 influencers listings, which identified the most important outsourcing executives in the Western Hemisphere.
Through his career Peter Ryan has been a much sought-after speaker, headlining multiple events including The Turkey Call Center Conference and Expo (Istanbul), Nearshore Nexus (New York), The Business Process Enablement South Africa Summit (Cape Town), The Central American Nearshore Summit (Managua), Congreso Andino de Contact Centers y BPO (Bogota) and The Congreso Regional de Call Centers & CRM (Buenos Aires). He has also been frequently quoted in the media on a variety of matters pertaining to BPO and contact centers.
Peter has degrees in Political Studies from the University of Saskatchewan and an MBA from Dalhousie University. He lives in Montreal Quebec.