‘Hello?’ Call Centers Answer the Important Questions

October 07, 2015

No matter how many Tweets, Facebook (NewsAlert) postings or Chat windows get opened, customers still reach for the phone when they want to contact a company.

That’s the main takeaway from a new report issued jointly by the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) and cloud contact center leader inContact.

“I am willing to pay more for a product or service with a good customer service reputation” was just one of the key respondent items highlighted in the report, “Smarter Service for the Connected Consumer: Delivering Customer Experience Excellence in the Contact Center.”

Researchers polled some 576 people to help determine how contact centers operate within today’s business world, and to try to ascertain what contact center leaders believe to be critical for future growth.

“Contact center teams normally act with the best intentions, as agents aspire to serve and satisfy consumers quickly and efficiently,” wrote Anna Papachristos, summarizing the report for 1to1 Media. “But, as evolving customer behaviors and emerging technologies begin to make waves, contact center leaders must reassess current offerings to ensure that their organizations can weather this perfect storm of change.”

Among some of the findings of the report, broken down by percentage of respondents:

Phone (NewsAlert) (97 percent) and email (87 percent) remain the top channels for agent interactions;

  • Those in charge believe that 1-800 numbers to live representatives (78 percent), online self-service (70 percent), and email (69 percent) are the most important methods of communication;
  • A majority of contact center leaders use customer feedback data (a/k/a, “analytics”) to improve escalation procedures in their organizations (54 percent), while also empowering their contact center managers (76 percent) and agents (64 percent) with real-time key performance metrics.
  • Contact centers use interaction data and metrics to identify areas for customer satisfaction improvement (45 percent), manage overall agent performance (42 percent), and identify customer trends (39 percent).

Overall, the study found that a majority of consumers (81 percent) prefer assistance from actual representatives when necessary. Speaking to a human as opposed to pushing buttons allows the customer to more clearly state their problem with the company to communicate and more quickly find a resolution.

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