Highlights from the 2019 Challenges and Priorities Survey

FROM THE JANUARY 2019 ISSUE

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With nearly 300 participants, Strategic Contact and Contact Center Pipeline proudly report the findings from our fourth annual Challenges and Priorities Survey. Here are a few highlights to whet your appetite.

Top Contact Center Challenges

The top half of our list of challenges is dominated by technology and frontline staff items. The perennial inter-departmental strategic issues have improved but haven’t gone away. Interestingly, workload and performance issues moved down, although a significant number of people noted they don’t have enough staff to handle the workload.

Desktop tools catapulted up the chart. About one in five participants now put this problem in their top three, and it undoubtedly ripples into other issues like handle times, training, and even attrition. Other technology challenges loom large as well, including performance tools and omni-channel additions and integration. It is interesting that self-service, which shows up near the top of the priorities, is not a top challenge, but prioritizing it can certainly help with the issues reflected in other big challenges (attrition, not enough staff, absence rates, etc.).

Core technology for routing and reporting moved from the back to the middle of the pack. We see that in projects, with many companies sitting on old systems or aching to get something more sophisticated, and perhaps intrigued by the possibilities of a cloud solution.

Moving down the list significantly were three items that may be linked: lack of focus on coaching and development, poor training, and lack of support resources. If centers have enough support resources, these other things may improve as well.

Top Contact Center Priorities

Perhaps the most interesting shift in this year’s priorities is the significant downward movement for training and for coaching and development. These are perhaps countered by the great leap up of employee engagement, a “hot topic” that has made it to the top of the list for nearly one in four centers. Some of the other highly rated items, including self-service, performance tools, reporting and analytics, knowledge management, and process improvements may help achieve better engagement. They also play a role in tackling the now #2 but ever-present challenge of attrition.

Self-service is a perennial priority, and the variety of channels presents ample opportunities for improvement. These technologies, with the right process and people changes, can help address some of the high-ranking challenges.

Strategic items continue to rank in the lower half of priorities. Interestingly, workload and performance items are in the top half of priorities, even though they are in the lower half of challenges.

I was interested to see if “Implement or plan for artificial intelligence” would move up the list, given the amount of attention it is receiving in our industry. Our participants perhaps provide a sobering contrast to all the market hype. With just a little movement up, it still ranks in the lower tier or our list.

Download the full report and read our analysis and conclusions.

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