Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

New Customer Service Study Finds Personal Touch of Voice Still Matters Most

March 25, 2014

As countless studies have confirmed, improving the customer experience is a top priority of C-levels globally. In fact, the fastest growing C-level positions for the last few years have been ones that are variations on “Chief Customer Experience Officer” (CCEO). 

The challenge for those with the mandate to improve/enhance customer experiences is where to concentrate their efforts. Indeed, the growth of omni-channel touchpoints driven by the explosion of social media, mobility, the cloud and video, have made decisions about where and what to spend on resources for optimizing the differentiated value of compelling customer experiences a hot topic.

Which channels are the most effective for attracting customers, engendering loyalty, obtaining permission to up-sell and those that can turn customers into brand evangelists are all top of mind. And, the discussion involves more than just marketing folks. It must include all enterprise stakeholders involved in streamlining business processes and sharing Big Data analytics aimed at increasing responsiveness to best leverage customer interactions.

With this as context, anyone in the customer experience business should be interested in the new study by customer interaction solutions provider CX Act (formerly TARP Worldwide). Entitled simply the CXAct Touchpoint Study, it reveals as it touts, “Instructive and eye-opening insights into the impact of customer contact behavior, handling, and word-of-mouth on brands and the bottom-line in the 2014 marketplace.”

Meeting customer expectations when they choose to interact

Based on interviews with over 3,000 respondents, the study highlights the contact levers most important to customers both now and going forward. In addition it illuminates the current state of contact handling by interaction method and by industry, and quantifies the result of contact handling on loyalty and word-of-mouth, online and offline.

There is a lot to digest from the findings which include:

  • Effective Contact Handling Impacts the Bottom Line: Customers satisfied with how their contact was handled are more likely to intend to remain a customer than those who were dissatisfied with contact handling, by a ratio of 74 percent to 17 percent.
  • Despite Digital Growth, Customers Still Prefer the Personal Touch: Contacting via phone is considered the most effective channel for resolving issues, with little difference by industry: 52 percent dial by phone, versus 23 percent by e-mail, 17 percent via in-person contact, and only 1 percent via social media or mobile app.
  • Asking Questions Dominates the Customer Reach-Out: 75 percent of survey respondents contacted a brand simply to ask a question, more than any other reason. And there is still a strong disposition to use customer contacts to complain rather than compliment – by a ratio of 2:1. Interestingly, more consumers still send a letter or a fax rather than post on a company’s social media site or use a mobile app.
  •  Customers Contacting about Bills and Financial Issues: Five of the top six most contacted industries are either in the financial industry, or have a large percentage of their contacts related to billing.
  • Only Half are Satisfied, Personal Touch Prevails: Only half of surveyed customers are very satisfied with how their complaint/question was handled in their first interaction; satisfaction is highest for those who contact in-person and lowest if done via social media.
  • Harsh Penalties for Brands Who Fail “First-Contact” Test: Customer satisfaction scores drop by over 50 percentage points among those who have to contact multiple times to address or resolve an issue or question.
  • One in Five Shares via Social Media: Among those who share their experience via social media, Facebook (News - Alert) dominates over Twitter by a 4:1 ratio - but Twitter followers are more engaged.
  •  Banks Rise to the Top on Contact Handling:  Banks are one of the most frequently contacted industries, and also boast the highest industry first-contact resolution and satisfaction rate.

In commenting on the results, Crystal Collier, CEO, CX Act said, “In todays marketplace, product differentiation is no longer enough to gain an edge and stand above the crowd…The real ability to grow market share comes from differentiating the customer experience. To win on the CX margin, brands must understand the preferred method of contact from their customer base and seek out opportunities to constantly improve those channels. This new study provides a first glimpse at analyzing and understanding preferred methods of contact and associated methods of customer satisfaction and loyalty – all critical bottom-line drivers.”

One of the more interesting charts from the survey was one that compared tact methods vs. contact reasons.  

Source (News - Alert)CXAct Touchpoint Study

The bottom line is people still want to talk to somebody. However, it is not just anybody, but rather somebody who they can get to quickly and has the ability to answer their question/resolve their issue the first time and fast.

“Consumers in 2014 have so many more ways to reach a company than they did just a few years ago,” said Dr. Jim Stone, Chief Customer Officer, CX Act. “Yet, when we have a problem or question, the vast majority still prefer the personal touch of a phone call. Social media in customer service is on the front burner and can’t be ignored, but brands seeking to excel at customer service need to be certain their call center talent understand the customers’ needs and are prepared to respond appropriately. Failing to properly navigate the new terrain of customer service touchpoints can adversely impact the bottom-line, while getting it right can drive profits and deepen brand loyalty.”

In short, as the study details, while investing in multiple touchpoint technology is important, investing in the people who interact with customers for now, and the foreseeable future, is likely the best way to create brand loyalty and to maximize the rewards of improving customer experiences. The reason is the voice of the customer wants their voice to be heard.




Edited by Cassandra Tucker

Article comments powered by Disqus

Related Contact Center Solutions Articles

What it Takes to Deliver a Superior Customer Experience

For enterprises large and small around the world for the past several years "Improving the Customer Experience" has become a C-level priority. Some might even say customer experience (CX) has become a preoccupation. The challenge for everyone who is a stakeholder in developing ways to improve CX is in divining the answer to a straightforward but devilish question, "What does it take to deliver a superior customer experience?" [ Read More ]
09/02/2014

Big Data: Changing the Recruitment Process

Big data is having an impact on every aspect of business today, and recruitment is no exception. Many HR managers are increasingly turning to big data to find the right people for the right position. This idea of using big data for recruitment is called people analytics, and has been adopted extensively by many companies, especially those in the call center industry. In fact, call centers have been one of the biggest beneficiaries of people analytics because of its high attrition rates and the d… [ Read More ]
09/02/2014

Mobile UC Benefits From 'Interactive Virtual Queuing' For Efficient Customer Care

A recent study commissioned by Nuance of 1,000 American consumers, confirmed the changing needs and concerns for customer service brought about by smartphones and online self-service applications for information and simple business transactions ("mobile apps"). Eighty-two percent of consumers only contact customer service when they can't resolve their needs online by themselves. [ Read More ]
09/02/2014

How to be the 'Squeaky Wheel' of Customer Service

Sometimes getting customer service can be tougher than anyone might expect. It's easy to think that, particularly these days, businesses will go to just about any lengths to get and keep customers, but when it comes to customer service, that's not always the case. However, there are ways that customers can, at least somewhat, force the issue, and get great customer service out of a company, even when it would seemingly rather not provide that service. Squeaky wheels, after all, get the grease, a… [ Read More ]
09/02/2014
Subscribe here for your FREE Contact
Center Solutions
enewslettter.

Events

Weekly Live Demo
Contact Center Solutions

Register Today!


Weekly Live Demo
CaaS Small Center

Register Today!