Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Consumer Expectations are Changing, Forcing Contact Center Change

December 04, 2007

Anyone believing that customer service has remained the same over the past fifty years has likely done little to no business with any organization. Customer service and the way in which the organization’s call or contact center delivers that service has changed dramatically, due in large part to the consumer’s changing expectations.

One of the biggest changes is the way in which we interact with an organization. According to the Internet World Stats and Wireless Intelligence, there are more than 1.6 billion Internet users and 2.7 billion mobile phone subscriptions throughout the world. Add to that the1.3 million new mobile phone subscriptions that are being added per day, worldwide.

These numbers indicate that we as consumers are online and on-the-go. In order to ensure that the organization can meet the demands of its customers, it must be able to provide service to the mobile customer. That requires not only web-based customer interaction channels, but also the ability to communication via e-mail, chat and even SMS.

It is no doubt that the stakes are high when it comes to customer service and the way in which it is delivered. Competition is intense in nearly every industry and the greatest challenge for these organizations and their contact centers is to ensure that they are able to meet all customer expectations – even as they are constantly changing.

According to research conducted by ICMI for the past two decades, there are certain expectations that will remain the same. For instance, customers will continue to expect real-time information, first-time resolution and express courtesy while on the phone or interacting electronically.

What is changing however is that consumers as a whole are becoming less tolerant when it comes to customer service. This decline is not as a result of an abrupt decrease in service deliverables, but rather an increase in the knowledge of available technology and the expectation that the contact center should be able to meet each and every request with the click of a mouse. 

Sure, customers are not usually aware of the latest breakthrough in contact center applications, but they are acutely aware of what they are able to do on their favorite websites or making purchases online. If an organization does not offer the same ease of navigation and resolution, the customer expectation will not be met and the perception is poor service.

One of the best ways for the organization and its contact center to avoid such a trap is to accurately measure customer expectations. Whether through surveys or other means of gathering customer perception, the center can gain significant advantage in the market if they have a clear understanding of the consumers’ expectations.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC (News - Alert) and has also written for eastbiz.com. To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.
 

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