The contact center plays an important role for the organization. Contact center agents interact with customers and are often their only point of contact with the company. As a result, the experience that the customer has with the contact center can have a significant impact on the customer’s likelihood to purchase from that company again, or look elsewhere.
Understanding the customer’s perception of the contact center is essential for all organizations. As a result, such perceptions are often measured, either by the company or a third party to assess the overall customer reaction. Avaya recently released the results of the Avaya Contact Centre Consumer Index for Japan.
Key findings from this study indicate that one third of the 300 consumers surveyed agreed that they like interacting with contact centers in Japan. Another one third disagreed with this statement and another 40 percent were neutral. The results of this survey could be considered alarming for those that rely on their contact centers to ensure customer loyalty.
These results could also indicate a change in consumer preference on how
they interact with the contact center. In fact, 48 percent of consumers surveyed revealed that they would prefer to use an Internet channel than to make a call to a contact center. Interestingly enough, the second channel of preference for Japanese consumers when contacting the contact center was e-mail.
Gaps do exist between expectations and reality for Japanese consumers when dealing with the contact center. The greatest gaps were found to be the level of empathy shown by the agent and the professionalism of the agent.
This notion of empathy by the customer service representative was actually a very strong driver and predictor of consumer satisfaction, relationship and loyalty. It was also significantly stronger in Japan than any other country studied.
The results of this study were shared at Avaya's International User group event, hosted for this region, in Tokyo. A keynote address was delivered by Dr. Wallace, Managing Director of callcentres.net, who presented the results of the Avaya Contact Centre Consumer Index for Japan.
Dr. Wallace stated, "One of the fascinating findings of this Avaya Index for Japan, not found in any of the other country studies, was the contact centre agent's empathy and its influence on the overall experience of the Japanese consumer.”
“In Australia and NZ, the key driver of consumer experience is first call resolution, and in Korea it was being provided with correct information, and in Singapore it was the company having the consumer's best interests at heart. Nowhere else is the empathy of the agent more important than in Japan."
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC and has also written for eastbiz.com. To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page