Businesses Are Increasing Investment in Digital Channels and Artificial Intelligence


NICE inContact have announced the findings of a global research study detailing the growing role of digital-first omnichannel experiences in fostering customer loyalty and advocacy.

The 2020 NICE inContact Customer Experience (CX) Transformation Benchmark, Business Wave surveyed over 1,000 global contact centre decision-makers and found a trend among businesses moving towards self-service vs. agent-assisted channels.

In fact, now 43% of businesses prefer to offer self-service channels, a 15 percentage point increase from 2019 with a corresponding decrease in those preferring agent-assisted channels for service.

A thumbnail image of Paul Jarman

Paul Jarman

“We’re seeing tremendous growth in CXone adoption with a record number of interactions in 2020,” said Paul Jarman, NICE inContact CEO.

“The trajectory of digital channel support has continued upwards for several years and has become more urgent than ever.”

“As a complete, unified cloud customer experience platform, CXone blends all types of interactions, including self-service and agent-assisted channels. This ensures the best combination of automation, efficiency, and service excellence as agents continue to handle more complex interactions.”

According to the 2020 Benchmark survey, 62% of contact centres reported an increase in digital interaction volumes during the global pandemic. In addition, 66% of survey respondents not using the cloud today indicated that they are planning to accelerate their move as a result of the pandemic.

In the 2020 survey findings, there is significant growth in contact centres offering online chat (73%) and mobile apps (56%) – up 6 and 8 percentage points, respectively, since 2019. Text was up 11 percentage points to 49 %, while chatbots remained flat year over year at 46% of contact centres using them.

Key findings from the survey include:

Investment in key areas of CX are up in four key areas: When asked how they plan to improve their CX in the coming year, contact centre leaders identified the website (58%), access to new channels (43%), new contact centre technology (42%) and improving seamless communication (35%) as their primary focus areas.

Preference for self-service versus agent-assisted channels is shifting among contact centres: While contact centres may prefer the efficiency of self-service, there was no change in the overall percentage of interactions that were handled with contact centres, estimating that 39%of all interactions are through self-service channels.

In 2020, preference for self-service channels, such as website, IVR, chatbots, increased by 15 percentage points from 28% in 2019 to 43% in 2020.

There was a corresponding decreased preference for agent-assisted channels, such as phone, email, and online chat, down from 72% to 57%.

Contact centres see more room for opportunity to improve the omnichannel experience: Compared to 2019, there was a slight increase of 3 percentage points (27% vs. 24%) in the number of contact centres which gave themselves an excellent rating in providing a seamless omnichannel experience.

Furthermore, 35% plan to add new services to allow channels to work together seamlessly (up from 25% in 2019).

Continued growth of social media in customer service: In both public channels and private messaging apps, social media usage has increased significantly between 2019 and 2020.

Today, 72% of businesses report using social media for customer service – up from 59% in 2019.

When asked which private messaging apps they most closely rely on, the top five were: Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter Messenger and WeChat.

AI is up, as is scepticism in the state of chatbots: When asked about the role of AI in their channel mix, 66% of contact centres say they use at least one AI channel, up from 50% from 2019.

More businesses agree that chatbots make it easier for customers to get issues resolved, 71% in 2020 vs. 63% previously.

However, 90% believe that chatbots need to get smarter before customers will be willing to use them regularly (compared to 89% in 2019). As chatbots get smarter, first contact resolution (currently 23% of chatbot interactions) should also improve.

In this year’s study, 40% of business say they will be investing in customer-facing AI for self-service, such as chatbots, voice bots, etc.

“Digital is a fundamental part of customers’ lives,” said Paul Jarman, NICE inContact CEO.

“If you’re not available in those channels and offering effective and efficient service in them, customers will take notice.”

“That said, creating differentiation and value requires more than checking the box, but rather using digital as a launch pad to build exceptional memorable experiences.”

“This year’s CX Transformation Benchmark shows that contact centres aren’t willing to be left behind, and they see new opportunities in improving acquisition, retention and growth.”

Follow the link to read the full report: 2020 Customer Experience (CX) Transformation Benchmark

To find out more about NICE inContact, visit: www.niceincontact.com

Published On: 5th Nov 2020 - Last modified: 10th Nov 2020
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