Is The Telco Services Sector Putting Costs Before Customers?

New global research released today reveals that contact centres in the Telecommunications and Service Provider sector have the strongest focus on customer profitability and cost reduction targets, but lag organisations in other sectors in having a strategic focus on staff and customer satisfaction. This is despite the fact that customer service is becoming the key differentiator amongst service providers, and call volumes in this sector are still growing rapidly – up almost 70% on last year – while inbound telephone traffic for most other sectors is flat or in decline.

Dimension Data’s Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report 2007, which surveyed 403 contact centres located across 42 countries, also reveals that this sector, which includes internet service providers (ISPs) and providers of fixed line and mobile telecommunications, delivers the longest wait times (at 65 seconds, it’s double the cross sector average of 31 seconds) and puts callers through more self-service intercepts than any other sector. Customers also have to endure the longest welcome message, at 35 seconds, before being connected to an agent or given a self-service option. When customers are waiting to get through to their service provider, one in five (20.4%) simply gives up – double the overall average of one in ten.

Martin Dove, Managing Director of Merchants Europe, Dimension Data’s contact centre consulting and strategic outsourcing business said: “Poor quality customer service has dogged this sector in recent years, and the situation is set to become more challenging for customers and service providers as the product offering becomes more and more complex. This challenge, however, also presents service providers with an opportunity to gain a real competitive advantage. People are increasingly buying multiple products from a single supplier, and as customer service becomes a bigger differentiator the service provider who gets the customer experience right will surely steal a significant lead.”

The Report shows that there has been a significant decrease in the level of overall customer satisfaction, across all sectors and regardless of location, with the overall average score down to 68.3% from 82.0% last year.