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A brave new world in customer care: how social media, live chat and self-serve are shaping the future

by • September 10, 2015 • The Science BitComments (0)882

Multi-channel and multi-device. These two terms underpin the seismic shift in customer behaviours when contacting businesses and drive expectations on fast, effective customer service. Quid pro quo these are the reasons contact centres need to evolve and redefine strategies to be able to deliver quality service to customers across multiple contact points. Customers want to connect on the channels which work best for them and get the answers they need seamlessly. Contact centres must adapt to provide better support and engagement on digital channels.

For some really useful insight on how customer service impacts loyalty, multi-channel expectations, how contact centres can improve response and resolution rates, and the need to upgrade customer service tools to match customer expectations, check out Ovum’s recent report: ‘Where Contact Centers Are Missing The Mark with Customer Care’, which surveyed 315 contact centre managers and 400 customers in the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Here are just a few highlights from the Ovum paper around channel choice, customer complaints and resolution.

The shifting sands of channel choice

The research found that while customers mostly used email and voice, 50% of interactions came from non-traditional channels: websites, SMS, social media and live chat. This will increase and is impacting the provision of customer support. If customers were confident they could get resolution on the first attempt, more than 70% would choose a channel other than phone.

What irritated customers the most?

The time taken to reach an agent and resolution times were the biggest customer complaints. Customers were most frustrated by phone systems. Access to live agents was seen as the number one choice to improve customer service. This included interactions on multiple channels from phone to chat to social media. Ovum suggests that social media and chat are a solution to this. Agents can handle multiple queries at once and there is no need to call to ‘talk’ to someone.

Customer resolution

Consumers were most confident that they would get answers on the phone. Email took second spot. Live chat was third. Just 20% of customers reported success in finding resolution on websites, apps and social media. Ovum asserts that contact centres need to improve information on web channels, and provide guidance on the best channels for customers to find specific information. Resolution rates on social media and digital self-service tools need improving, as customers would continue to use these to find the answers they need. Improving resolution times and agent training is a top priority for managers this year.

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