New research released by enterprise ICT solutions and services provider Damovo UK & Ireland has revealed widespread dissatisfaction over how businesses manage their contact centres. A survey of 2,087 UK consumers conducted by TNS found that the vast majority (82%) of people find dealing with contact centres to be an unnecessary stress. 80% believe that inflexible contact centre operations, which cause long waiting times during peak hours, are hindering customer service. Furthermore, over three-quarters (79%) of consumers are frustrated by the inconsistent standard of service they receive when contact centre teams are dealing with their enquiry; depending on which communications tool they use.
“Nobody expects to enjoy dealing with customer service teams, but these findings clearly show that organisations are adding insult to injury with poor contact centre operations,” said Jennie Cleal, Head of Client Solutions , Damovo UK & Ireland. “Given the pressures of the working day, high call volumes during lunch hours and early evening are entirely predictable. Although some organisations are trying to alleviate this problem by opening additional communications channels, consumers are often left reeling by inconsistent levels of service between them. One solution could be to ensure that contact centre phone lines are more readily staffed during peak times by enabling flexible and remote working. This removes the need for contact centre staff to be physically present in the office; thereby protecting businesses against unforeseeable absences.”
The research went on to look at how businesses are using additional communications channels to improve the contact centre experience for their customers. 72% of respondents said that automated contact centre greetings pointing callers towards other channels are just a tactic to get them off the line, rather than actually improving customer service. Thinking about the number of different channels that could potentially be used to interact with contact centre teams, 62% of consumers expressed further frustration with organisations that only offer one or two means to contact them.
Looking to the future, online chat was regarded to be the most effective communication channel for customer service; ranked top by 33% of consumers. This was followed by email (27%) and then telephone (26%). However, disparities emerged between the different age groups. For the older age bracket (55-64), online chat was ranked in third place (24%), led by email (35%) and telephone (33%). For the younger age group (16-24), the preference for online chat was higher (40%), with email (20%) and social media (19%) coming second and third respectively. Only 18% of this age group indicated telephone as the most effective customer service communications channel; putting this method of contact more preferable than only post (3%).
“Now that email, Facebook, Twitter and instant messaging tools are part of everyday life, consumers expect businesses to be ready to talk to them on any available channel,” continued Jennie Cleal. “However, these additional channels aren’t just a substitute for the phone; the research shows that many still find the ability to speak to someone to be the most effective way of dealing with contact centres. Moreover, it isn’t enough for businesses to simply add more communications tools into the mix, as consistency between channels is essential to guaranteeing a positive customer experience. By modernising their operations with fully integrated multi-media contact centres, businesses will be in a much stronger position to deliver a level of customer service suited to the demands of today’s consumers.”
The omnibus survey of 2,087 UK consumers aged 16-64, was commissioned by Damovo UK & Ireland and conducted by independent research company TNS.