As companies throughout the global economy have turned to multi-channel interaction strategies, it is important to examine their performance in these channels and how they are addressing the needs of their customers. A recent study has found that North American companies are failing to live up to customer service expectations.
In eGain’s study, “2008 State of Customer Service,” the company features research that makes a comprehensive assessment of the state of customer service. eGain evaluates the “customer service IQ” of companies with “SQ,” a new metric that uses a multidimensional framework to measure the customer service competence of companies.
eGain found that the SQ for the overall market was 4.1 out of 10.0 with 68 percent of the companies in the “poor” or “below average” performance category. Only 2 percent of the enterprises received “exceptional” SQ scores.
Surprisingly, 60 percent of the companies received a “poor” or “below average” score in the Multi-channel Quotient and 46 percent received a “poor” or “below average” rating in the Multi-agent Quotient.
Another 28 percent of companies did not respond to e-mail inquiries. Of the North American companies that were studied, 50 percent did respond to e-mails within 24 hours, yet the quantity of “poor” responses went up from 14 percent to 20 percent, compared to previous research conducted in 2004.
In the Service Quotient (SQ), findings were also less than stellar. The consumer electronics sector performed the best, even though it was still “below average” with a score of 4.6 out of 10.0. The travel sector performed the worst with a score of 3.6.
The consumer electronics sector proved to have the best score when it came to choices of interaction channels, while the financial services sector came in last. Insurance, communications and consumer electronics proved to be the best in terms of e-mail, while again financial services placed last.
In the area of self-service, the consumer electronics sector again came in first, while the insurance and financial services sectors were both last. The financial services sector took first place only in the area of multi-agents, while the travel sector came in last.
"Customer service is fast becoming a critical competence that businesses need to acquire and exploit for competitive advantage," said Ashu Roy, CEO of eGain, in a company statement.
"While the study raises concerns about the service competence of North American businesses, there are technologies and best practices that can help companies take their SQ to new levels."
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.
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