Organisations persist in treating contact centre management as an operational cost rather than an integrated part of their marketing and customer relationship strategy, according to research by Cable & Wireless and Vertex.
As much as 70 per cent of respondents admit that their ability to provide multi-channel customer service is either poor or average according to the study carried out by Teleconomy.
The research also found that tusinesses focus mainly on operational performance measures, such as the time taken to handle a customer call, while consumers place the greatest value on how well their query is resolved.
In addition, customer service teams tend to be structured around a specific product or service, with calls and emails routed to the relevant team while consumers expect contact centres to tailor the way they handle queries according to whether it is a complaint, problem or routine transaction.
"Organisations have made large investments in contact centre technology having recognised that more needs to be done to enhance customer service," said Paul Hudson at Teleconomy. "However, businesses will not see a return on these investments unless they focus their knowledge of customers to close the gap between what the customer expects and what the business aims to deliver."
Companjies are also not using the correct metrics to monitor their levels of customer service, with ten per cent admitting that they use no measurements at all to monitor performance. Metrics that are used are based on time taken to answer or average call length, although the survey suggests that consumers primarily value an advisor's skills and ability to resolve issues efficiently.
"This research clearly indicates that contact centre strategy must be customer-driven," said David Jackson, vice president, customer interaction management, Cable & Wireless. "Technology is a powerful enabler for enhancing customer service, but the starting point for any new technology project must be thorough research into how it can help meet the objectives and priorities of the customers and advisors who will use it. This can then help organisations to assess how automation and other technology will help enhance their customer service levels."