Survey Shows Customer Need for Cross-Channel Communications
Customers still prefer to hear a human voice, but they want to connect with companies and brands to solve problems in a channel of their choosing, whether that be online, web chat, email or the POTS (plain old telephone system). And when they switch from one channel to another, they still expect a consistent level of customer service and prefer not to have to repeat their service data and issue.
That’s the conclusion drawn from a survey conducted by Genesys Telecommunications Labs and research firm Ovum. The survey was aimed at measuring and qualifying consumer behavior and used a pool of 8,800 consumers from 16 countries around the world, not just the United States.
Additional survey findings:
- A majority of consumers started on the Web and then went to a customer
service representative. A large number of people identified telephone
conversations with live agents as that the most satisfying channel of
customer service, and further identified better agent training as one
of the customer care industry’s top needs.
- Though no single industry overwhelmingly was able to deliver cross
channel conversations, the financial services industry and consumer
products manufacturers seemed to have addressed the issue better than
most other industries.
- Consumers still
largely prefer to interact with customer service via the phone,
followed in second by email; Web self-service finished a distant third.
- Consumers want to be able to conduct self-service via the Web or
interactive voice response system and then get live assistance from an
agent if needed without having to re-enter information already
provided. The leading suggestion on how to best improve cross channel
conversations from 44 percent of the respondents was to provide “better
human service,” which includes the agent already having the information
provided via a different channel.
- When asked
where organizations should invest more in customer service
communication, consumers overwhelmingly asked for better integration of
human contact center agents with other channels. They also wanted newer
delivery methods, including avatars, social forums, and multimedia.
Conclusions to draw from this study: customer service centers must take steps to integrate CRM across contact centers, online and with email support. With the contact center still being the primary form of communication with the customer, centers must facilitate interaction across other channels. If your IVR doesn’t integrate with your CRM, how much are you losing in customer satisfaction and retention?
I don’t know about you, but this study made me want to run to each of our contact center customers and verify CRM integration. I know that our newest customers are benefiting from a new IVR feature that automatically creates a new case in Salesforce, populating the CRM with content from the IVR, but what about those who haven’t yet included this feature?
What does this study make you want to run out and implement?