Industry Research : Contact Center Satisfaction Index Rises Slightly in 2014
After dropping significantly the previous year, consumer satisfaction with contact centers rebounded slightly in 2014, according to the CFI Group's Contact Center Satisfaction Index (CCSI). The eighth annual report also finds that despite growing technological advancements in the industry, a knowledgeable live representative is critical to the contact center experience and is a leading factor in additional purchases.
The CCSI collected data from nearly 1,500 consumers spread equally across six major industries: bank/credit union, cable or satellite TV, cell phone service, property & casualty insurance, health insurance and retail. The 2014 score of 72 (out of 100) is a three-point improvement from 2013, but still matches 2008 as the third-lowest score since the report's inception.
"The CCSI score is an indicator of overall consumer satisfaction, so the improvement hopefully indicates that the worst is behind us," said CFI Group CEO Sheri Petras. "That 2013 score captured the bleak outlook of consumers at that time. The 2014 score shows people are breaking out of that dour mood, and positive predictions for 2015 economic indicators could have more positive impact on how consumers feel about their contact center experiences."
In contact center-specific content, the role of Representative Knowledge had an increased influence on overall satisfaction in 2014. The Representative's Knowledge leverage on CCSI grew by 67 percent year over year and satisfaction is 40 percent higher among customers who interacted solely with a live agent.
"Consumers have many automated ways to reach a contact center these days, but our results show that more than half (57%) still prefer to use the telephone and they still prefer the 'human touch,'" Petras said. "Plus, the results show that the skills of the representative can positively impact a company's bottom line. We found that consumers are surprisingly accepting of their sales efforts."
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In 2014, the CCSI measured consumer receptiveness to the upselling of additional products and services by live agents. It found that 41 percent of customers expect an agent to make recommendations and 43 percent of them are very (17%) or somewhat (26%) receptive to those recommendations.
Further, 40 percent of consumers who purchased additional products or services did so based on the knowledge of the representative. Only the overall satisfaction with the company (41%) was a bigger influencer on those purchases.
The "agent over machine" paradigm continues in the world of interactive online chat, which was the contact method for just 11 percent of consumers. Of those who used chat, they interacted with a live agent versus automated response system in more than half the cases.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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