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Industry Research : Survey: U.S. IT Decision Makers Value Good Customer Service
Enghouse Interactive, developer of interaction management solutions, announced the results of the first Enghouse Interactive Customer Interaction Index, which captures the state of customer interactions in U.S. business from the perspective of technology decision-makers. This survey was conducted among 227 senior IT professionals at U.S.-based companies with revenues of between $50 million and $1 billion per annum by Kelton Research, a national public opinion company.
Surprisingly, almost seven in ten (68%) of these IT decision-makers believe that delivering good customer service is more important to their company than managing costs. This indicates that most U.S. companies are trying to put good customer service at the heart of their business. What’s more, 65% of IT decision-makers say they feel personal pressure to help their company be recognized as providing good customer service.
Today, e-mail is an important form of customer interaction to a majority (84%) of U.S. businesses, with call center interactions crucial among 67% of businesses. However, there’s a slower adoption rate with newer solutions: 65% of respondents say that mobile applications matter to them, but just 7% say that these systems make up most of the company’s interactions.
Unexpectedly, 93% of IT decision-makers rate their customer interactions as good or excellent. As it is unlikely that customers would agree with this bullish assessment of businesses’ skill in handling customers, the survey results hint at a widespread disconnect between business and customer perception of the quality of customer service interactions.
The survey also examined how today’s companies are approaching three distinct classifications of customer interactions: structured, unstructured and self-service. Structured interactions are transactional in nature; generally high volume, low value and handled by contact centers, while unstructured interactions require a more consultative approach to handle them professionally; they are lower in volume but higher in value. 63% of IT decision-makers think that they excel the most at handling structured interactions, while 22% believed they are best at handling self-service interactions. Interestingly, there was a straight 50/50 split between the companies who think about the different types of interactions together versus those that treat them separately when considering buying new solutions or allocating resources.
Some of the other key findings from the Enghouse Interactive Customer Interaction Index are:
-Non-traditional media, including social media, makes up the majority of customer interactions in just 2% of businesses
-57% of businesses try their best to cater to the communication preferences of different demographics
-33% of IT decision-makers spend 60% or more of their time trying to make business processes more efficient
-Only 7% of businesses say that they do not have any applications in the cloud
"Currently, most U.S. businesses are pushing for better customer service, which is extremely positive," commented Enghouse Interactive CTO, Alex Black. "But businesses are in transition. They need to incorporate new methods of customer interactions into their portfolio. We can see from the data that newer technologies like mobile apps and social media are being treated seriously even though they currently make up a minority of customer interactions. The major concern we have is that newer technologies could make customer interactions more siloed if they are not handled within the context of a broader plan which can incorporate structured, unstructured and self-service interactions."
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Published: Monday, February 27, 2012