Survey reveals greater challenges in meeting customer needs
Consumers are more empowered than ever, according to results of the NICE 2012 Consumer Channel Preference Survey.
Consumers indicate that on average they are using six different channels for contacting service providers, while 86 percent note that on average, they are communicating more often, or at the same level, with businesses over all channels.
The Web continues to be the most popular and growing self-service channel, while smartphone applications and social networks have grown in popularity, with more than 40 percent of respondents noting that they have increased their use of these channels.
Almost half of the respondents noted that if they are unable to accomplish a task on a company website, they will then turn to the contact centre to resolve their issue. This is often due to the fact that respondents find complex tasks difficult to complete via the web self-service channel. As self-service channels are more often used for easier tasks, the contact centre continues to evolve to “Tier 2” status, for taking care of escalated service requests.
Customer expectations are high, as 40 percent of respondents want the live representative to already know about their experience before beginning their conversation in order to bring the issue to a quick and successful conclusion.
This trend reinforces the importance for the contact centre organisation to be able to understand and shape a customer interaction in real time. This is achieved by providing customer-facing employees with the context of the interaction, such as the customer’s cross-channel journey, including their most recent activities, analysing the Voice of the Customer (VoC) in real time, then using the insights from the VoC and workforce performance to drive the next-best-action and execute it in the most efficient manner.
“The empowered customer who uses more channels, more often, is in effect creating a big data challenge and opportunity for businesses,” said Benny Einhorn, Chief Marketing Officer at NICE. “To maximize the value of these interactions, organizations need to Own the Decisive Moment™ by shaping the interaction as it happens. Service organizations that can impact that moment consistently across countless interactions and continuously throughout the lifetime of customer relationships will not only survive the rising tide of customer interactions—they’ll thrive.”
The survey, conducted in November 2011, polled around 2,000 people between the ages of 18 and 65, living in major metropolitan areas in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. Questions regarding channel preference when contacting organisations were categorised according to the following industries: financial services, telecommunications, travel/hospitality, insurance and healthcare.
Some other key findings:
- Within financial services, only 50% of customers indicated satisfaction in their interactions with a live phone representative. However, greater satisfaction was reported among respondents in the other verticals – here, 81% expressed satisfaction with the live rep channel.
- The use of all interaction channels is growing, especially in the travel/hospitality and insurance sector. The healthcare industry lags behind in multi-channel service, and many of the advanced channels (e.g., social networks, smart phone applications) are still not prevalent. Healthcare customers prefer to use service centres (85%).
- The use of smartphone apps and SMS is on the rise (34%), with the strongest growth in the financial services sector (46%) and the travel sector (38%). FSI customers are substantially more successful (52%) and satisfied with smart phone apps than users in other industries (34% use this channel successfully).
- The role of IVR remains unclear; survey results indicate a failure to contain interactions and a significant negative impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty. One of the biggest motivators to use IVR is to get to a live representative who is aware of their IVR journey, or to use the callback option. Regardless of the vertical, around 60% of the respondents indicated that they try to bypass the IVR to get to a live representative.
Liked this article? Why not get our free newsletter.