Organizations with older contact center technology are finding it more difficult to deliver quality cross-channel service to customers, according to a survey of 225 global contact center decision-makers by Pega, which was conducted in partnership with IT research firm Forrester.
The study indicated inefficiencies are leading to lower-quality interactions, as call center employees can't access customer data, with 36 percent being challenged with locating information to answer customers' questions.
In addition, a third of respondents said they feel their organization can't deliver a consistent customer experience across multiple channels, and when it comes to upgrading technology, the contact center wants to improve the customer experience (53 percent), while businesses want to exclusively drive cost savings (51 percent).
Only 21 percent of respondents felt their organization was excellent at delivering consistent customer service across multiple channels and enabling customers to use multiple channels in a single interaction. Half of all respondents have a current system that is at least 5 years old, and 28 percent of those are more than 7 years old.
The top challenges with current agent desktop apps are driving faster changes to the application, delivering quality service across self-service and agent-assisted channels, and managing front-office to back-office servicing.
Respondents with older agent desktops find it more challenging to deliver quality service across self-service and agent-assisted channels than those with newer desktop systems (27 percent versus 14 percent find it very challenging).
They also find it more challenging to manage front-office to back-office servicing (21 percent versus 11 percent find it very challenging).
"Organizations struggling with older desktop technology can't innovate to offer differentiated experiences to keep customers loyal to their brand," the report noted. "With the increasing popularity of self-service and mobile channels, this inflexibility threatens their brand and their bottom line."
Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of organizations where customer service owns the customer experience use six or fewer applications to solve a typical inquiry, versus 62 percent of organizations overall and 47 percent of organizations where sales owns the customer experience.
The survey also indicates that the most important customer service goals all relate to delivering an exceptional and differentiated customer experience.
The top four customer service goals were improving the cross-channel customer experience (41 percent) improving customer satisfaction through NPS or C-SAT score (40 percent), increasing customer profitability (35 percent) and improving customer self-service capabilities (33 percent).
However, 59 percent of respondents said that managers do not have access to unified reporting across all service channels to understand the overall performance of their organization, even though 22 percent selected this as the most critical challenge.