Good customer service needs connected approach, say fed-up customers

13th Dec 2013

If a business is looking to be recognised for a high level of customer service they should look towards a connected approach, say consumers.

The key hold-back when it comes to good service is an inability to track interactions with a customer – so 60% of consumers have cited.

Part of the problem is that 69% of organisations can’t even provide the capability.

The figures come from a piece of research completed by communication services provider Kcom and the Customer Contact Association.

It goes on to describe a consumer space in which no single industry is currently meeting the demand for a ‘single customer view’.

It suggests that current levels of service have remained stagnant through the development of the multi-channel approach and that the variety of ways to reach a brand is leaving brands needing a more connected approach.

The research also indicated that this is an organisational issue rather than individuals or the customer service department itself – a worryingly high 69% of CCA member organisations admitted they don’t have the ability to link up all of its previous interactions with a customer.

Customer expectation not being met

The direct correlation between customer needs and the ability of the business to meet these demonstrates that a business could lead the pack with some investment in multi-channel technology setups.

“Offering seamless omni-channel service to customers is now a ‘licence to operate’ rather than a point of differentiation - it keeps you in the game but doesn’t give you a winning hand,” said Anne Marie Forsyth, chief executive of the CCA on the release of the study.

She continues: “We shouldn’t underestimate the scale of the challenge facing the numerous organisations which haven’t even reached this crucial point.”

These thoughts were echoed by senior contact centre professionals that took part in panel sessions discussing the future of customer service, which were used to complete the research.

The conclusion  from the sessions was that having a single customer view is now essential if organisation want to ‘stay in the game’.

They acknowledged that expectation is not currently being fully met by any industry sector.

“Risk losing customers”

Despite so few organisations meeting these expectations in customer experience, Forsyth implores businesses to take note describing the research as a “wake-up call” to service providers.

“The research shows a worrying disconnect between the service expectations of customers and the ability of organisations to live up to those expectations,” she said.

“We know that consumers want efficiency, speed and value for money but unless businesses urgently adopt an integrated omni-channel service strategy, they will struggle to deliver on service promises and risk compromising brand values.

“Change your approach or risk losing your customers,” added Forsyth.

The indication is that the range of technology solutions are able to assist in managing customers’ needs, whether they wish to communicate via phone, online or even via letter and eventually businesses wishing to take the lead in customer service could be responsible for leaving others behind.

Suzette Bouzane Meadows, director of contact for Kcom expanded on this notion, noting that these would need to be used efficiently: “It’s clear that while technological advances are providing a wide choice of channels for contacting an organisation.

She concluded: “These must be joined up and there must still be well-trained, experienced people at the heart of any organisation’s customer contact team.


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