Digital interactions at call centres around the world are set to overtake voice in the next two years, according to the Dimension Data Global Contact Centre Benchmarking report.
This year, 901 organisations in 72 countries across Asia-Pacific, Australia, the Americas, Middle East, Africa and Europe participated.
Results from the report show non-voice traffic (digital) is set to rise in 87 per cent of contact centres within the next two years, and voice traffic (talking to a customer centre agent on the telephone) will drop in 42 per cent of contact centres during the same period.
Based upon information gathered by Dimension Data gathered over last 10 years, contact centres will manage more digital interactions than voice in the next 24 months.
Dimension Data group executive – communications, Adam Foster, said this represented the biggest change in the contact centre business in 30 years.
"[It] has profound implications for the way organisations deploy technology to deliver and manage customer service,” he said.
According to the report, by the end of 2016, customers will commonly be using up to seven different digital channels, in addition to the telephone.
“That’s not to say that contact centres are dead, and customer service agents will become redundant," Foster said.
"That’s definitely not the case. The reality is that their scope has been broadened, and the types of interactions that are happening via the telephone where an agent is required, are becoming more complex and more critical.Read more: GFC extended UC upgraded cycle, opportunities returning: Plantronics
He said organisations would need to focus on getting their staff highly skilled and putting systems in place to enable them to answer customer enquiries immediately.
"Because voice is often the channel of last resort, this is where the moment of truth really happens," he said.
"If agents can’t resolve the customer’s call, it will reflect badly on the organisation, and could lead to the search for an alternative supplier.”
The report also found 75 per cent of companies recognised that service was a differentiator, yet customer satisfaction was down for the fourth consecutive year.Read more: Interactive Intelligence lays out its call centre ambitions for 2014