Commentary

Cross-Channel Consumers Demand Fast Resolution

According to a new survey, inContact Customer Experience Transformation Benchmark Study, with research by MaritzCX, consumers are not getting the “fast resolution” they demand. Responses to the survey demonstrate the critical need for companies to improve their cross-channel customer experience, revealing that less than half of customers are satisfied with their experience, regardless of communication channel.

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Consumers have come to expect the ability to communicate with companies any time, anywhere and with any device. This is the only research study that measures actual consumer experiences including satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy, by communication channel, says the report.

Consumers reported their perceptions for where companies are falling short, how technology is affecting service, and consumer preferences for channels and methods of communication. The results confirm that delivering excellent omnichannel customer service continues to be a major business pain point, revealing key areas where companies are not meeting consumer demands:

  • 8 in 10 consumers are willing to switch companies due to poor customer service
  • Less than half of consumers are satisfied with their experience, regardless of channel
  • 67% of customers still prefer agent assisted customer service with phone, email, and online chat leading the way; only 33% prefer self-service
  • 72% expect companies to know their purchase history regardless of method of communication (e.g. phone, chat, email)

The study revealed that speaking to a live person is still the most preferred way to deal with customer service, says the report. According to the results, IVR and email have the lowest consumer performance ratings and elicit the strongest emotions of anger, disgust and frustration, says the report. Consumers reported that these channels are less personalized, slow, and do not provide complete information. Specifically, the survey revealed that email is the least effective method of resolution, with over one-third reporting the issue as ‘still ongoing’ or ‘nothing more the company can do.

 “Calling the company to speak with a live rep” dominates interactions, accounting for two-thirds of all points of  contact with companies:

  • Across all industries, between 70-90% of interactions are classified as Agent-Assisted, and even Self-Service interactions involve an Agent-Assisted method two-thirds of the time
  • Calls to and from a live rep are strongly preferred vs. other methods as almost 4 in 10 saying “calling a live rep” is their top choice for any interaction (2:1 over website) and about 4 in 10 choose “call from a live rep” for proactive communication in general (second only to email) and for urgent means of contact (about equal to email
  • Phone is the most effective method of resolution with over 8 in 10 who spoke to a live rep saying their issue is resolved, and over 8 in 10 saying it was handled the first time (a few  channels do this well on first-contact resolution)

Top suggestions for improving service experiences, regardless of channel, center on quicker response time, better customer service, and making it easier/faster to get the problem resolved

  • “Resolving my question or issue in the quickest way possible” is the top driver of channel performance and a priority area for improvement efforts for both Agent-Assisted and Self-Service
  • Customers expect companies to direct them to the quickest path of resolution. And while half of customers’ first instinct is to handle the issue themselves, they often end up on the phone
  • Methods linked to slow resolution see negative outcomes. IVR and email have the lowest issue resolution rates, lowest performance ratings, more suggestions for quicker and easier resolution, and elicit the strongest emotional ratings on anger, disgust, and frustration

Paul Jarman, CEO at inContact, says “… even as we make incredible advances in technology and automation… companies are still struggling to deliver consistent, excellent customer service across all touchpoints… to stay competitive, businesses today need to win every interaction with their customers…”

inContact surveyed more than 700 consumers who had experienced a customer service interaction in the past three months. Data was collected between March 1 and 23, 2017. For more information and to download the full research report, please visit here. 

 

 

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