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Question: What is the difference between a zero-footprint contact center and digital first?


DMG defines a zero-footprint contact center as “a service, sales, collections, human resource, field service, etc. department that uses self-service solutions and software robots to automate the handling of 100% of inquiries.” These zero-footprint service departments do not give their customers and prospects the opportunity to speak to a live agent, as none are employed. Companies are encouraged to invest in their self-service solutions, as this is what customers want, and it reduces operating costs. However, there will never be a point where it is possible to capture all inquiries or transactions that customers want to handle in self-service solutions, as different and new issues keep arising.

DMG defines digital-first customer service as “an omni-channel communication solution that gives precedence to digital, mobile and self-service channels enabling customers to have greater control over how and when they interact with enterprises, including the ability to pivot from one channel to another.” This is not to say that voice is going away, as the ability to speak to a live agent continues to be an important communication and servicing channel.

Digital-first customer service solutions are designed to support digital modes of customer engagement and put the customer at the hub of all sales, marketing and support activities. It approaches the servicing challenge from a different mindset, instead of overlaying digital channels on top of traditional voice servicing paradigms. The goal of digital customer service is to reimagine customer engagement by leveraging the rich communication features inherent in each channel, including voice, to elevate the customer experience and each company’s brand. Over time, DMG expects to see a growing number of digital-only servicing environments, but these will still require the support of live agents to respond to certain emails, chats, SMS and other digital interactions that cannot be fully automated.