Research Shows Rumbling Among Contact Center Callers

March 25, 2015

It’s a nagging feeling most contact center managers have, but are hesitant to voice: That is, if their people screw up even once, the customer will leave and never come back. Now new survey results show that might in fact be the case.

The research from inContact, a leading provider of cloud contact center software and contact center agent optimization tools, showed that 86 percent of those asked would be very likely to switch to another company in the future after a bad customer service experience.

The study was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of inContact, from January 29 – February 2, among 2,028 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. And the numbers are telling: Asked about online or phone purchases over $25 in the last six months, consumers say they’re still frequently interacting with company service reps. According to the findings, 43 percent of U.S. adults who made at least one purchase online of over $25 during the last six months had interacted directly with a company representative at least once, with an average of two interactions. When purchasing via phone, 84 percent of buyers were in touch with a company rep an average of five times during that time.

“We set out to understand how shoppers interact with companies when they are making purchases online or via phone,” said Paul Jarman, CEO inContact. “Consumers still frequently turn to agent-assisted channels in addition to using self-service options during different stages of the purchase cycle, which makes the contact center a vital link to the customer experience when it matters most — when they are buying.”

The study also found that today’s consumers expect a number of channels to be readily accessible to them. In the order of importance to them, followed by the percentages agreeing, the agent-supported channels include Email (93 percent); 1-800 to live reps (81 percent); Online chat (67 percent); Apps for mobile devices (50 percent); SMS/Text message (46 percent); Social networking sites (39 percent); and Online video chat (32 percent).

“Consumers expect a personalized, omni-channel customer journey that includes agent service continuity and choice of channels for follow-up communications,” inContact said in a statement about the results. “A major goal of the study was to gauge consumer desire for personalized and omni-channel experiences when interacting with service representatives.”

It looks like they hit their target. Now it’s up to call center managers to heed the obvious warning signs.

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