Tweeting may be cool, but while customers will increasingly use digital channels to make complaints they will continue to rely on the phone to make purchases, a new study has found.
A research project looking at changes in the contact centre industry over the next five years has found that speed of call resolution and effective call routing to an agent with the right knowledge are the biggest priorities for consumers.
The study conducted jointly technology provider Kcom and the Customer Contact Association (CCA) highlighted the importance of personalisation and use of automation technology to improve customer service standards and use of agents and automation is the best way to drive customer service standards up.
The research also highlights that although communication through digital channels such as social networking and instant messaging is set to grow the phone will still be the dominant method of communication. Despite predicted growth in consumers’ use of digital channels from 0% to 9% in 2016, the phone will continue to be the dominant method of interaction with organisations from 73% currently to 49% in five years’ time.
Anne Marie Forsyth, Chief Executive of the CCA said: “The reality is customers want service to be simpler and slicker, whilst organisations struggle with the complexity of managing multiple contact points. Successful organisations in the future will provide the right blend of self serve and conversation supported by good technologies that can provide quick and easy access to knowledge workers.”
Technologies such as automatic voice recognition offer a cost-effective solution to personalising service without adding to staffing costs. This can enable businesses to segment customers and improve service levels as well as increasing the opportunities to upsell services and products and drive business value.
Meanwhile, contact centre operators reported a reduction in budgets of up to 20% compared to 2008 levels. But at the same time, the range of ways customers want to communicate with a brand together with their desire for a personalised service, particularly in the current economic environment, means contact centre operators face the challenge of doing more with less.
Mark Pritchard, Business Development Manager of Contact Centres at Kcom, said the growing challenge of meeting customer expectations meant contact centre owners would be forced to make some tough choices in the coming months and years. “Automation can significantly reduce the cost of servicing customer enquiries, but it must be applied intelligently in order to realise its true potential and demonstrate value to the customer,” Pritchard said.
Despite the challenges ahead, the study also showed that contact centre performance is considerably better than the public and media perception would suggest. CCA Customer Experience Council benchmarks show that average customer satisfaction is 84 per cent based on 467 million calls across nearly 40 CCA member organisations. Abandonment rates are down to 5%, and first contact resolution is as high as 83%.