A new study by LogMeIn and Ovum reveals a significant disconnect between what today’s mobile, always-connected customers have come to expect from customer service and what contact centres are delivering.
Although businesses are fully aware of new behavioural trends among customers, not all of them are tailoring their customer service experience to match customers’ needs. Over 50% of customers surveyed believe that the ability to reach the right representative has worsened over the last two years. As a result, 84% claimed to have stopped doing business with a brand following a bad customer service experience.
The key findings also show that mobile, web self-service and chat are rapidly growing channels for customer support. Over the last two years, the number of customers using a mobile phone for support calls doubled to 40%, the use of mobile apps has more than tripled to 16% up from 5%, and the number of customers using live chat has almost tripled to 29%. Both customers and businesses look at Internet of Things as the next asset to support technical queries and ensure smooth customer experience, with 34% of surveyed businesses claiming they have IoT-ready devices.
Conducted by Ovum Research, a leading global technology research and advisory firm, on behalf of LogMeIn, makers of the popular customer engagement tools, BoldChat and LogMeIn Rescue, the survey explores the connected-consumer’s expectations for customer service and how those expectations compare with what contact centre managers believe and are prepared to face.
Other key findings include:
- Time taken to reach an agent is the biggest customer complaint: 65% of customers want easier access to representatives as they are most frustrated with time taken to reach a representative and resolution time. Long hold times and automated service menus continue to irritate customers who are keen to get fast resolutions to their problems. This explains why many are turning to the web for support inquiries, with contact centres seeing almost 45% of interactions coming from channels other than voice.
- Customer service relationships directly impact loyalty: 84% of customers claimed to have stopped doing business with a brand following a bad experience. Businesses need to pinpoint the cause of customer dissatisfaction and make changes to improve retention and protect their customer base.
- Customers look to web and mobile for answers first: 71% of customers said they use the web to look for information always or most of the time before contacting customer service. However, only 31% of managers believe that their customers frequently use the web before calling, showing a big discrepancy. Managers need new tools to track web behaviour and link it to live customer interactions.
- Use of email and web chat continues to grow: The number of customers using live chat and email has almost tripled over the last two years. As this number increases further, contact centres must be ready to handle interactions in non-voice channels, but also to provide quick resolution, as resolution rates are lower for support inquiries across non-voice channels.
- Live chat is a promising channel for support interactions: Not only does it offer fast access to agents, but it is efficient because agents can handle two or three chats at the same time. It can also be used on mobile devices, using links from a mobile application or site, and agents can link customer web behaviour to a chat interaction so agents are more readily aware of particular behaviours.
- Managers understand that waiting times are an issue: Managers do realise that customers need quick resolutions to their problems, as their top priorities for 2015 are agent training and improving resolution times. They track resolution times and customer satisfaction among other metrics in order to improve connectivity between agents and customers, whether through new or traditional channels.
- The Internet of Things shows potential for technical resolutions: The Internet of Things is not completely understood by customers, as 50% of customers said that they didn’t believe it to be necessary or would be uncomfortable with connecting their devices. But 25% would be willing to use it if it means solving technical issues quicker. Contact centre managers, however, are familiar with the benefits of connected devices and are keen to resolve issues remotely, as 34% of the surveyed said that they have devices that can be connected to the Internet and out of those respondents 88% currently offer connected versions of those products.
“This dual perspective study confirms that customers are increasingly using digital channels for support, especially if they know they can get faster resolutions and responses. It also indicates that businesses need to adapt their service tools to match customer needs and improve access to live agents,” said Aphrodite Brinsmead, Senior Analyst at Ovum. “Contact centres should invest in technology to understand cross-channel behaviour and link customers’ digital interactions with their profiles and case records. By optimising online support and guiding customers to the right channel for their issues, businesses will be able to improve resolution rates and customer satisfaction.”
“Today’s highly mobile customers are empowered to seek out support from multiple touch points and have come to expect a response through those channels in minutes, let alone hours. Yet contact centres are not equipped to provide the fast resolutions their customer’s desire. This research provides an insightful view into the needs and frustrations of these mobile customers, giving contact centre managers the opportunity to invest in the correct tools and prioritise their support channels,” said W. Sean Ford, CMO of LogMeIn. “We believe that live chat benefits all parts of the business, particularly when added to websites or mobile applications and therefore should be a priority for contact centre managers.”