Surveying a combination of contact centre managers and consumers, the research revealed a number of key stats, namely that consumers think the number of interactions they have with a brand in order to resolve a query is increasing.
Conversely, 43% of contact centre managers feel they don’t have the necessary budget to invest in the technology to improve experiences, whilst 48% say they are hampered by outdated technology.
The report highlights that the consumers surveyed believe it takes 6 different interactions to resolve an issue, while the surveyed contact centre managers believe it takes only 1-2 touchpoints.
“The disparity between the perception of contact centres and the reality of consumers when it comes to customer experience is worrisome as every interaction is proving to be critical to customer retention,” said Ken Landoline, principal analyst, customer engagement at Ovum.
“Because customers will stop doing business with a company following a bad experience, it is critical that brands identify friction points in the customer journey and offer their reps the tools and technology to help improve the overall customer experience from pre-purchase through post-purchase support.”
Ovum’s research points to live chat as a source of hope for contact centres, with an 11% rise in consumer usage in the last two years making it the third most popular channel of interaction with a brand, and crucially, the fastest route to get a response.
It also points to mobile as an area for critical improvement. More consumers now call contact centres from their smartphone rather than a landline, with 83% of the surveyed consumers reportedly citing a preference for mobile applications for customer support and 64% reported using mobile websites, up from 57% since 2014.
Clearly improving technology to match these trends is crucial. Especially given that 82% reported that they will stop doing business with a company following a bad experience. However, in the recent MyCustomer guide to omnichannel service, Rachel Barton, managing director, advanced customer strategy, at Accenture advised that resolving the many issues associated with delivering better CX across multiple channels required more than just increasing contact centre tech budgets, and that these three fundamentals had to be addressed:
- Applying new insights: Observe consumer behaviours within and across channels, and apply analytics to generate entirely new insights about who the customers are, the types of interactions customers want to have, and the economic impact to the company on not meeting their needs.
- Refocusing investment strategies: Armed with these insights, companies will be better positioned to not only offer seamless, cross-channel experiences that drive profitable growth, but also eliminate the toxic experiences that push customers away. Addressing negative experiences head-on can have a significant impact on profitability. Companies should zero in on the experiences that have the greatest potential downside for customers.
- Building outcome-focused organisational capabilities: Companies need to ensure the customer is at the heart of everything they do, including how they are organised as a business. Companies may need to change the way they are currently organised and structured in order to better drive end-to-end outcomes.