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Deloitte Digital Research Determines Contact Centres Will Become Experience Hubs for Brands in 2021 and Beyond

New 2021 Global Contact Centre Survey identified that leaders see customer experience as the most important strategic focus for contact centres, which are poised to become the heart of digital business operations.

NEW YORK, June 30, 2021—Deloitte Digital today announced its "2021 Global Contact Centre Survey," revealing the ways in which contact centres evolved over the last year and how they can become revenue generators and experience hubs. According to the survey, companies leading in customer service coming out of the pandemic are accelerating digital transformation, adopting new models for work and the workplace and reimagining their mix of service channels. Additionally, the survey found that customer experience remains the most important strategic focus for service leaders, a focus that is only expected to increase over the next two years.

The biennial survey was conducted from November 2020 to February 2021, gaining insights from global call centre executives across a variety of industries and sectors. In Deloitte Digital’s new report, “From cost centre to experience hub: Tapping the potential of customer service to help drive business growth,” key survey findings are shared along with five aligning trends:

  • Embracing unprecedented change through the cloud: Disruptions brought on by the pandemic led to many contact centre leaders to up-level their digital transformation, with cloud technology at the centre. At the end of 2020, only 32% of surveyed organisations were running contact centre technologies in cloud; now, 75% expect to make the move within the next two years. More leaders now recognise that cloud is not simply a “nice to have,” it is an imperative for doing business in a time when customers, competitors, markets and technologies can change in the blink of an eye.
  • Using AI to foster human connections at machine speed: AI stands to revolutionise contact centre operations and customer experiences, which is why 79% of contact centre leaders plan to invest in greater AI capabilities in the next two years. To complement and expand what’s possible with AI, 2 in 3 have planned investments in process automation such as robotic process automation, customer resource management workflow optimisation and "next best action."
  • Making work from home, work: Before the pandemic, only 6% of customer service agents, on average, worked from home. Today, 77% of service organisations are either adopting or accelerating their work-from-home programmes and 80% of companies now plan to close their physical customer service centres entirely. To keep up, many contact centre leaders are increasing investments to support employee and management needs, such as collaboration and teaming tools, remote training resources, dual monitors for agents and cloud-based telephony.
  • "Right-Channelling" or optimising channels to connect customer journeys: While 11% of organisations can now transition customers across channels and experiences seamlessly, optimising every possible experience on every channel isn’t just difficult, it isn’t really feasible for most businesses. Thirty-six per cent of leaders say that despite the ongoing proliferation of service “front doors,” customers have stuck with the same, familiar channels—primarily phone, the most expensive channel of all—to reach them. That’s why many have turned to “right-channelling” to meet customers where they are in the moment and usher them each to the most appropriate channel to answer their needs.
  • Keeping it personal to serve business growth: Experience-focussed leaders are shifting their orientations from an emphasis on reducing costs towards the goal of generating business and customer value. In fact, the percentage of service leaders whose top priority is increasing revenues will double in the next two years, while the percentage whose top priority is cost reduction will drop by 32%.
Businesses understand the importance of customer experience to build trust and loyalty, but those that want to be leaders need to take the lessons learned during 2020 and invest in solutions for changing consumer needs. This starts with looking at your customer service capabilities and doubling down on digital transformation, new technologies and reimagined workplaces,

said Andy Haas, managing director, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and Service Transformation leader at Deloitte Digital.

“Importantly, we’ve learned that contact centres have become vital to customer experience in ways that we hadn’t seen before and will play a critical role in a strong service strategy."

Contact centres that are focussed on elevating customer experiences need the adaptability new technologies, like cloud and AI, provide in order to meet the shifting expectations of customers and to respond to changes in the competitive, regulatory and cultural environments,

said Tim McDougal, managing director, Deloitte Consulting LLP and Contact Center offering leader at Deloitte Digital.

“Our research found that those leading in the industry are already on this path and that others need to ensure they’re doing the same, or risk losing customers."

This is the fifth publication of Deloitte’s "Global Contact Centre Survey," which has been published biennially since 2013. Deloitte surveyed global customer contact centre executives between November 2020 and February 2021 regarding the current state of their businesses and what they perceive their business will be doing in the next two years. Respondents represent industries including consumer and industrial products; energy and resources; federal and public sector; financial services; life sciences and health care; services; travel and hospitality; and technology, media and telecommunications. Their contact centres serve varying customer bases touching both B2C and B2B as well as internal customers such as IT or HR help desks.

For more details on the future of contact centres and customer experience in 2021 and beyond, access the full report here.

Deloitte Digital helps companies create new growth by elevating the human experience—with connected ideas, technology and talent. Our ambition is to make the best customer-oriented organisations in the world. Alongside all of Deloitte, we foster the connections necessary to shape a better future for our clients, our culture, our society and our planet. Visit or follow Deloitte Digital on LinkedIn or Twitter to learn more.


Kathryn Zbikowski

Deloitte Digital Public Relations

Deloitte Consulting LLP
+1 646 971 4104

Sara Daino

Deloitte Digital Public Relations

Deloitte Consulting LLP
+1 347 225 5098