New research from NewVoiceMedia, a leading global provider of cloud contact centre and inside sales technology, reveals that many UK businesses lack the contact centre capabilities to meet customer expectations. The study, conducted by global market research firm Opinion Matters, exposes significant gaps between customer preferences and reality, and suggests that businesses across many different sectors are missing out on opportunities to enhance their customer contact centres with technology that could improve the customer experience, help retain existing customers and acquire new business.
Forty percent of contact centre professionals surveyed indicated that their customers typically need to repeat themselves to more than one agent. Yet previous research¹ from NewVoiceMedia has shown that 39 percent of customers are put off by having to repeat information to multiple agents, and a third would take their business elsewhere for that very reason. Similarly, 21 percent of businesses are not able to match customers who switch channels with their previous contact, even though being passed around to multiple agents would drive a third of customers away from a business. Contact centre technology that enables intelligent call routing based on a customer’s phone number or history of interactions in the CRM system reduces these common frustrations.
Businesses have also been slow to adapt to the increasing importance of social media as a customer service channel. Only three percent of respondents consider social listening a primary method for customer feedback, yet 16 percent of customers complain on social media, and 18 percent flag it as the most effective way to get an issue resolved¹. This represents a major disconnect between what customers expect and what they experience.
“Today’s service agents are required to manage a complicated mix of customer calls, email, instant messages, social media, video chat and more”, says Moni Manor, Chief Product Officer at NewVoiceMedia. “This research highlights the increasing complexity of providing quality customer service, and the need for businesses to invest in resources that will allow them to adapt to their customers’ ever-evolving expectations”.
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The study also suggests that organisations are failing to optimise their contact centres with technology that could make them more efficient. The majority (70 percent) of respondents said they must manually update their CRM record after a call, and they spend an average of 142 minutes a week making those updates (equivalent to three weeks a year.) Respondents whose companies had the lowest annual turnover were most likely to say they had to manually update their CRM records (74 percent).
Service success across size and sector
Some sectors consistently had more contact centre technology capabilities than others. Industries that did well were professional services, HR and finance. However, the education and architecture, engineering & building sectors often fell behind.
Overall, respondents from organisations with the largest workforces were often among the least likely to have advanced contact centre capabilities. For instance, respondents from companies with 500 or more employees were less likely than average to have contact centre technology that presents them with information about previous customer interactions, can match a channel-switching customer to their previous contact, or automatically transfer callers to the most appropriate agent.
The sheer speed at which technology is evolving may be what is preventing businesses from keeping up with customer expectations, particularly larger organisations, where on-premise technology has more of a foothold and results in a slower rate of progress.