09 April 2019

Understanding Emerging Channels and CX Impacts: Views from the Industry

Curious as to which channels are the best to invest in? Which will make the most impact for your customer’s experience?

PTP recently attended the IQPC’s Contact Center Week Executive Exchange in Miami, Florida.

The conference brought together CX leaders from many different industries and verticals and focused on several industry trends, including technology, voice of the customer, customer loyalty, and customer-centric strategy development.

At the event, PTP hosted a Master Class session where Crystal Collier and Julie Diaz-Asper led a discussion on emerging contact channels, including chatbots, virtual cognitive agents, and voice assistants. We discussed a framework for how companies can understand what customers expect and offer support to delight them during their help experience. Participants shared elements of their channel strategies, including existing mix, contact drivers, and planned additions in the coming months.

Session INPUT

The session was full of insights and interesting conversation:

  • Of our 50 participants, all offer customer support via live agent on the phone, IVR, and website and nearly all also offered chat and email support. Only about one-third offer help via social media and mobile app. Less than 5% connect with their customers on video chat, virtual agent/chatbot, and home electronic virtual assistant. [1]
  • The top channels participants are planning to add in 2019 include text/SMS, virtual agent/chatbot, video chat, and home electronic virtual assistant. [2]

Other Industry Research

This data is consistent with other industry sources we have seen recently:

  • 68% of all interactions were agent-assisted [3]
  • 49% of all consumers surveyed used phone in their most recent interaction [4]
  • Home assistants are gaining ground with customers and companies need to be preparing to offer this emerging channel [5]
  • Conversational user interfaces will have major impacts to several common customer service channels, including self-service, chat, and phone [6]

The 4-Step Framework

 As you think about your channel strategy and ways to introduce new channels, our 4-step framework could help!

  1. Do a touchpoint study: This study will help you understand how customers feel about their contact experience, revealing customer preferences and expectations for contact channels by contact type and identifying emerging tech and channel management opportunities.
  2. Keep on journey mapping: Journey mapping is still one of the best ways to understand what customers experience when interacting with your brand. They also are critical to designing the optimal future state. And don’t forget to map the employee journey.
  3. Consider the context: We like using the 5W1H method: who, what, where, when, why, and how. Understanding the nuances of the customer contact will help determine the best interactions for each channel.
  4. Start small: Keep a close watch of how things are going, and expand from there. Create special ways to the listen to the voice of customer as you plan and launch new channels, perhaps through a small panel, community, or focus group. Enlist feedback regularly, consistently, and more frequently than you typically would. And, again, don’t forget to get employee feedback on what they are hearing from customers.

Get More Detail on Emerging Channel Strategy

Based on extensive research, we put together an infographic that helps answer some of those questions and provides a framework to develop the right strategy. We also put one together as a summary from the Master Class session.

Get the Detailed Infographics 


[1] PTP Master Class participant data, April 1, 2019

[2] PTP Master Class participant data, April 1, 2019

[3] 2018 Customer Experience Transformation Benchmark, NICE inContact

[4] 2018 Customer Experience Transformation Benchmark, NICE inContact

[5] 2018 Voice Command Study, Social Lens Research

[6] 2018 Voice Command Study, Social Lens Research

Authored bY

Crystal Collier

Crystal Collier is an Executive Customer Experience (CX) Consultant with PTP. In her notable career, she has been a pioneer in employee engagement to enhance a company’s CX. She is devoted to transforming CX by improving the interaction between employees and customers in a variety of industries, including interactive entertainment, insurance, automotive, retail, internet and multi-level marketing. She is a featured speaker on customer experience and employee engagement.


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