Chat Me, Tweet Me, Call Me, Maybe? Increased Choices Not Improving Customer Relationships

Increased Choices Not Improving Customer Relationships

Results from a new survey reveal continued frustrations with companies’ customer service, so much so that four in ten (46 per cent) say they do not experience issue resolution when contacting customer care. Why so disgruntled?

This could be in part because 64 per cent agree they do not feel they are treated like valued customers when they interact with customer service. And, companies seem to have failed to quell some of the largest gripes like being directed to an automated response (67 per cent) and having to repeat themselves (65 per cent).

Consumers are demanding more, including choice of the channel of communication, from traditional voice to social media. However, clear disconnects exist between consumer expectations and companies use of multiple channels.

For example, 42 per cent of survey respondents agree that they’d rather have companies use social media for good customer service than to promote their products; only 1 per cent feel social media provides the best customer experience. This is an indication that most companies have not started to embrace social media as a preferred channel for customer care.

Call them frustrated

Of those who have sought help on social channels, only 7 per cent say that these channels provide the fastest resolution and the best customer experience. However, in an effort to quickly get their issue resolved while interacting with customer care, a larger number admit they have threatened to share their experience with others (16 per cent) or broadcast their frustration through social media (9 per cent).

Unfortunately most companies have been slow to respond to fundamental shifts in their relationships with their customers, and this is part of why the experience of too many is falling short. Expanding channels is increasingly allowing customers to take more control of the care conversation, but it has also increased their service expectations.

This has enabled an environment where people are not afraid to air their grievances in the most public of forums. This not only creates customer experience challenges, but more importantly it offers opportunity for organisations to deliver multichannel service, including new channels like social, that consistently meet customer demands.

However, when it comes to meeting customer expectations, there is some good news for brands who do offer multiple channels, including phone, e-mail, online chat and social media, for customer service. Seventy-seven per cent of Americans think companies that offer multiple channels as part of their customer service are easier to do business with and 74 per cent say they provide better service.

What’s more, 67 per cent agree they feel more in control of their relationship with a company when it offers multiple channels for customer service.

Simply providing access on multiple channels is not enough. As the ‘multi-channel customer experience’ – where an interaction can start on one channel and seamlessly transition to another – becomes the new gold standard, contact centres are emerging as the new centre of the customer experience. Companies must align their people, processes and the growing number of company-customer touch points to lessen frustrations and deliver consistent and remarkable customer experiences.

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Jim Freeze is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Aspect Software. In this recently created role, he is tasked with the creation of the company's corporate messaging platform, external elevation of the brand, and development and execution of product and solution marketing strategies. Freeze joins Aspect after acting as Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President of Corporate Development at Crossbeam Systems. He brings more than 25 years of business-to-business marketing experience. Prior to Crossbeam, Jim ran marketing at global technology companies such as 3Com, Genuity and CompuServe. Freeze holds a bachelor of science in mathematics education and a master's in mathematics both from The Ohio State University, along with his Juris Doctor from Capital University Law School.