Communication breakdown: Multiple channels damaging customer relationships

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Whilst consumers expect to receive consistent service across all touchpoints, the reality is that an increase in channel choice is detrimental to customer relationships.

According to Aspect Software’s survey of over 2,000 US adults, 46% said they do not experience issue resolution when contacting customer care.

This could be due to two thirds of respondents believing they are not treated like valued customers when they interact with service staff. Frustrations are also heightened when customers are directed to an automated response (67%) or forced to repeat themselves (65%), the figures showed.

Of those that have used social for customer service, just 7% said this channel provide the fastest resolution and the best experience. And in an effort to get their query answered quicker, 16% said they have the threatened to share their negative experience with others (16%) or through social channels (9%).

But despite this discrepancy in quality of service, consumers are still demanding social customer service. Nearly half (42%) of those surveyed said they’d rather than companies use social media for good customer service than to promote their products.

However, when it comes to meeting customer expectations, there is some good news for brands that do offer multiple channels, such as phone, email, online chat and social media, for customer service.

The survey showed that 77% of US consumers believe companies that offer multiple channels as part of their customer service are easier to do business with and 74% say they provide better service.  

Additionally, 67% claimed to feel more in control of their relationship with a company when it offers multiple channels for customer service.

Jim Freeze, SVP and CMO at Aspect, said: “Simply providing access on multiple channels is not enough. As the ‘multi-channel customer experience’ – where an interaction can start on one channel and seamlessly transition to another – becomes the new gold standard, contact centres are emerging as the new centre of the customer experience.

“Companies must align their people, processes and the growing number of company- customer touch points to lessen frustrations and deliver consistent and remarkable customer experiences.”

Research from Synthetix recently showed that 91% of UK consumers and US expect to receive consistent information over multiple contact channels.

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By Rbacal
25th Mar 2013 12:06

 I'm glad people are looking at this issue. It's only logical that the more channels you try to support, provided you don't add additional resources (people and money), the worse overall service gets. Some time ago I wrote an article called Seven Reasons Social Media Is Making Customer Service Worse (http://customerservicezone.com/art/socialtechworse.htm) to highlight the issue. After all, technology itself doesn't improve service, and there's a tendency for it to distract from the central principles of service improvement.

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15th Apr 2016 09:54

Great article with interesting and enlightening stats! Multi-Channel is important, especially as the world becomes more digital. Companies really need to take Customer Service/Experience into their company-wide core values. When this happens and their policies match, the multi-channel experience should be highly beneficial to all, regardless of age and technical know-how.

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