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Executive summary • This whitepaper is based upon original research by EY during Q3 2015. We carried out more than 60 interviews with customer experience professionals from 40 leading companies across a range of customer-facing sectors. • Our research gives us an inside view of how companies are managing relationships with off-site customers and how these interactions are likely to evolve in the future. 10 key takeaw ay s: the definitive trends D igital tech nologies are resh ap ing th e customer relationsh ip ch annel mix and f ront line organiz ation. 1. Automation replaces the simplest tasks (level 1) through digital tools: FAQs, Interactive Voice response (IVR), and online forums, etc. 2. Use of written digital channels such as chat, email, and messenger apps is spreading and evolving. 3. Value proposition improvements are reducing the need for customers to call for basic interactions or information. 4. Service providers and customers alike have virtually stopped using traditional email. 5. A generational divide has developed in the choice of channels to interact with service providers, which appears heavily influenced by smartphone use. C ustomer relationsh ip s are ev olv ing tow ards more emp ath ic and social interactions, rep lacing th e rush to answ er q uestions q uickly . 6 . Companies are adopting new collaborative approaches and asking customers to contribute to customer care via user forums or as brand ambassadors. 7. Customers are making increased use of social networks, prompting companies to invest in dedicated social media resources and tools. But corporate expectations of the gains look over-optimistic. 8. Trends in contact mix and channel choice are changing the role, training and skills of the Customer Care Agent (CCA). C omp anies are looking f or new C RM cap ab ilities to enab le more p ersonaliz ation and contact initiation. 9 . Data analytics will be at the heart of future customer relationships, allowing companies to provide a personalized contact and value proposition. 10 . Outbound contacts will experience a new golden age. 2 O ff- site Customer R elationship S tudy | J anuary 2 016

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