News : When Calling the Contact Centre is the Customer’s Last Resort
Global, Jan 2, 2017 -- Contact centre managers, it seems, don’t really understand just how much customers are making use of voice alternatives — in particular the web — for customer service, according to research undertaken by Ovum.
Ovum carried out a web and telephone survey of 300 contact centre managers and 400 customers across North America, Europe, and Australia and New Zealand to review the importance of customer service in keeping customers loyal. It said the survey had embraced businesses of all size, in all major industry categories in both the public and private sectors.
The research looked at customers’ omnichannel expectations and, according to Ovum, discovered gaps in the solutions that customers need as compared with the mobile and web support tools that businesses are providing.
It found contact centre managers to be "largely unaware of the number of customers who search the web for resolutions prior to and during calls with agents," and "only half the managers track customer web usage related to service issues."
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It found managers lacking any real understanding of the extent of customer interactions via the various touchpoints now available to them. "Managers believe issues are resolved within one and two attempts while 62 percent of customers report using more than five touchpoints to get a problem resolved," Ovum said.
Despite this seemingly lack of understanding as to what customers are really doing, call centre managers seem determined to increase the options for interaction without increasing their ability to really understand the breadth of customer interactions.
Contact centre managers were asked to name their top customer support priorities for the next two years.Twenty-eight percent listed "Expanding channel choices for customers" as the number one priority. Right at the bottom, rated top priority by a mere seven percent of respondents, was "Deploying/using analytics".
Wider use of such tools might lead them to the conclusion arrived at by Ovum through surveying customers: they are increasingly informing themselves and, where possible, resolving their issue before they pick up the phone to speak to a customer service officer.
"Seventy-two percent of customers now search for answers online before calling a contact centre," Ovum said. "This has increased from 61 percent who said they used the web before calling a contact centre two years ago.
The consequence of this, of course, is that "Agents are expected not only to provide answers to simple questions, but also to add value and more information to the customer’s knowledge base and to be prepared to reach deeper into databases and other information sources to satisfy customer needs."
If call centre managers don’t deal with these issues they will likely find themselves with fewer agents to manage. For 78 percent of users in the Ovum survey, the contact centre was the last resort: if they knew they could get resolution of an issue on their first attempt they would use some other avenue of interaction.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Today's Tip of the Day - Do Your Agents Have All The Right Tools?
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Ovum, the analyst and consulting company, is an advisor on telecoms, software and IT services. Resolutely independent, Ovum advises large corporates, IT and software vendors, IT service providers, telecoms operators, regulators, service providers and equipment suppliers. It analyses the commercial impact of technology and market changes and has a real strength in advising on the developments where telecoms, software and IT services interact.
Published: Tuesday, January 3, 2017
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