Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Web channels outperform phone channels

There is growing evidence that the web is becoming a critical part of the mix in delivering a superior customer experience. Recent research by Avaya and callcentres.net has not only highlighted the growth in web self-service, but has also identified quick query resolution as the most important attribute for delivering the “ideal customer service experience”

The research is consistent with the fast paced world we live in. As consumers, we like self service as it gives us more control, and when we need to interact with a service provider we want the experience to be quick and efficient. In my view, the growth of ultra fast broadband and smart phone technology will put the web at the centre of customer support. A well constructed website should not only be the first port of call for customers but it should also be the principle knowledge tool for CSR’s when servicing customers (e.g. older people)who prefer speak with a person. Businesses that can take advantage of this trend will enjoy considerable benefits. Ostensibly, customer satisfaction levels will rise, and the cost of customer service will fall due to fewer calls to the centre and the reduced handling time that results from better knowledge management

So what needs to be done? A lot! A quick review of most websites of major providers shows that they are not at all user friendly when it comes to satisfying customer queries. Many search functions in particular are generally ineffective particularly when you compare them to a ‘Google’ search. In my experience, despite the significant gains that have been made in recent years to improve the software tools available to business, knowledge management systems available to CSRs are still ineffective making it hard for them to solve customer queries quickly.

In my view, the future role of the contact centre will be to handle those queries for customers that can’t be handled by self service. And, when we need to make that call we should expect to have the call answered promptly, and our query answered accurately and efficiently.

John Chetwynd

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