Survey Identifies Contact Center Superstars
There are many factors that go into a great customer experience. Some of them have to do with the quality of contact center agents hired and their training. Others have to do with the enabling technologies available to those agents. Others are about the attitude the company has toward its customers: does it value customer experience excellence above cost savings? It helps to study the companies that get customer support right.
Astound Commerce recently released its Customer Service Excellence Awards, which chooses retailers who do customer support notably well. The awards are based on a survey, now in its twentieth year, and recognize seven retailers which excel in customer service through an assessment of “must have” website features and behavior based on engagement with available touchpoints.
This year, the survey, which is based on mystery shopping, chose the following seven companies: B&H, Gap, L.L. Bean, Lancome, Moosejaw, The Home Depot and Zappos.
“Service is the quickest route to retention. Shoppers expect efficiencies, accessible information, competency and timely information that allows for quick decision-making, avoiding any obstacles along the customer journey,” said Lauren Freedman (News - Alert), SVP of Digital Strategy at Astound Commerce. “In today’s challenging retail environment where short term thinking often prevails, we hope retailers remain vigilant in their customer service investment and execution.”
While competency and accessible information are elements of hiring and training as well as core technologies in the contact center, quick decision making and timely information are often a result of good scheduling practices. The best trained agents in the world can’t excel if they don’t have the time they need, or if call or other contact queues get too long. For this reason, a reliable and flexible scheduling solution is mandatory for customer excellence.
“Excellent customer service comes in a variety of forms, from proactively communicating with the customer about their order status, to timely responses to inquiries, to speedy delivery and simple returns,” said Igor Gorin, CEO of Astound Commerce. “Not only does our research show which retailers are excelling and which are lagging behind, but it also provides insights on key trends for retailers who are considering new investments in customer service capabilities. At the top of every retailer’s list should be providing an informative, accessible and reliable experience. Doing so will elevate customer satisfaction and bolster the retailer’s bottom line.”
Based on Astound’s survey, there is still work to be done, particularly when it comes to investment in new software and scheduling solutions. While all 100 retailers surveyed shaved time off their response rates for email, their response times for calls and chat actually went up. Call center response time increased from 5.8 minutes in 2015 to 6.8 minutes in 2016, and live chat response time increased from 10.2 minutes in 2015 to 12 minutes in 2016.
Edited by Alicia Young