Adoption of digital channels continues to increase in U.S. contact centers—83 percent of contact centers in the U.S. report using one or more channels in addition to their voice channel. But new research from contact center software provider Bright Pattern reveals that only 22 percent of contact centers offer seamless omnichannel conversations that allow customers to switch channels with ease and provide agents with a single unified agent desktop for all channels.
These insights stem from the firm’s latest survey, which examined the current state of U.S contact centers’ omnichannel conversations and omnichannel quality management. Bright Pattern surveyed companies of all sizes and industries in the newly released 2019 Omnichannel Customer Experience (CX) Benchmark Trend Report, in partnership with CAN-AM Research.
The omnichannel adoption statistic of 22 percent closely aligns with the findings of other contact center reports and industry analyst research. Contact center analysts including IQPC, Dimension Data, and Gartner believe only 5–20 percent of companies offer omnichannel conversations.
Of those surveyed, 62 percent of the trend report respondents identified their contact center as a multichannel contact center—a contact center that offers more than one communication channel to its customers but offers the channels in silos. Multichannel siloes prohibit customers from moving easily between channels without losing important customer data, requiring them to repeat themselves to a new agent.
Bright Pattern found that the industries with the highest omnichannel adoption:
- Consumer Services at 40 percent
- Manufacturing at 30 percent
- Business Services and Technology at 25 percent
- Finance at 22 percent
Omnichannel was originally a term from retail customer experience that has now been adopted by all industries. Ironically, the study found that only 17 percent of retailers identified themselves as able to offer omnichannel customer experiences.
“Customers have been wanting seamless omnichannel conversations across all channels for years, yet only 22 percent of companies are able to offer this effortless customer experience to their customers today,” said Ted Hunting, SVP of marketing at Bright Pattern, in a news release. “Silos continue to be the norm and our research reveals that companies are finding it difficult to add emerging digital channels like bots or messengers into their contact centers without creating new silos. The good news is the percentage of companies offering omnichannel customer experiences has more than doubled, largely driven by the adoption of innovative cloud contact center technology.”
Omnichannel customer experience key findings
Voice, email, and web chat are the most commonly support channels, but out of the companies surveyed, 42 percent support social media, 32 percent support SMS, over 25 percent support messengers, and nearly 10 percent support video.
Only 22 percent of respondents are omnichannel. Despite serving customers in more channels, the management of these interactions is not unified because 62 percent of respondents indicated they are multichannel (note 17 percent of respondents are voice-only).
Companies have clearly adopted more channels to serve customers, but many are not integrating the management and support of these channels. This indicates that companies have added channels in an ad-hoc manner as stand-alone solutions.
Sixty-eight percent of respondents use two or more systems to manage channels in their contact center.
Bright Pattern and CAN-AM conducted an online survey of over 200 U.S. contact center executives from a total pool of 14 industry categories.