Businesses still struggle to meet customer expectations even as they universally acknowledge the criticality of supporting and engaging customers in today’s digital world. Nowhere are their efforts to provide an optimal customer experience more important than in the contact center—the hub of customer service interactions. Yet, a recent report from Ovum and Boldchat indicates that a discrepancy exists between customer behaviors and contact center support. Specifically, contact centers are not delivering integrated support offerings that meet the demands of connected, mobile users.

Whereas customers are using multiple digital channels to search for information, businesses fall short when it comes to providing responsive websites and applications that seamlessly support those usages. Even contact centers that incorporate technologies to address multichannel customer engagement must still strive to improve resolution rates by reducing customer efforts to find answers and reach Communicators for urgent queries.

To put these needs in perspective, consider that the use of mobile applications to access support has increased from 64 percent in 2014 to 83 percent in 2016, according to the report. In addition, customer use of mobile websites to access customer service has increased from 57 percent to 64 percent in the same time period. Plus, the number of callers using smartphones vs. landlines to reach a contact center is greater for the first time.

So, what can contact center leaders do now to narrow the gap between customers and contact centers regarding the quality of customer support?

One way is to use data to better track customer Web usage related to service issues. Another is to increase Web-based, self-help experiences for customers. To maintain a feeling of support in these instances, enable a live chat option. Forward-thinking companies have already implemented this service with success. The report revealed that live chat use from a mobile site or application has increased from 33 percent to 44 percent in the last two years due to increased accessibility and the technology’s ability to provide fast access to a live representative during a Web or mobile experience.

Contact center leaders should also be paying close attention to customer complaints about automated response systems. Forty-three percent of customers reported frustration with the amount of time it takes to reach a representative, which likely explains why 40 percent of customers turn to the Web for answers to their inquiries. Ovum and Boldchat’s report also indicates that 78 percent of customers would choose a channel other than phone calls if they knew they could get a resolution on the first attempt.

Today’s customers are more empowered than ever. Businesses must respond to this new environment by investing in tools that support digital channels and improve internal processes and response times. Stay agile; the next big thing is just over the horizon.