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January 03, 2008

Customer Satisfaction Levels Are Once Again Down

According to the Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report (Dimension Data), findings this year include:
  • First call resolution dropped from 87% to 70%
  • Customer satisfaction dropped from 82% to 68%
  • Global attrition is 24%, North American market 31%
  • Non phone-based interactions are 22% of all inbound/outbound centers
  • 49% of these 22% are Web-based; the remainder split among e-mail, fax, postal and SMS
  • 69% of centers record calls; 21% plan to upgrade recording platforms
  • 25% plan on installing speech recognition
  • 27% are upgrading their IVR systems
  • Staffing is 75% of operational budgets in North America, 64% in Africa and Asia
I quote the editor of the report, Carla Diemont, “At the end of the day, it is your agents who deliver the customer experience, and you need to continue to invest in them.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. If the focus is on the customer experience — which it is and should be — then who has the responsibility for that experience? Your front-line people.
In those first three sentences — whether by phone, e-mail, webchat, etc. — a customer decides whether this will be a good experience or a bad experience. Some of what goes through their mind could be: Can this person really help me? Are they new? Are they reading from a script? Am I just wasting my time? I can’t even understand them, and they can’t understand me. Why did I bother to call!
Let’s look at the first two statistics listed, customer satisfaction and first call resolution. Customer satisfaction levels dropped 14%, which means that 32% of customers were dissatisfied. What do you suppose those 32% of customers did? My guess is they went to the competition!
First call resolution went down 17% to 70%. That means that 30% of your customers are contacting you more than once, maybe even more than twice. What is the impact of those repeat calls on your bottom line? And, what do you think the likelihood is of retaining those customers? (This figure is a result of a poll taken by destinationcrm.com)
For me, it’s a slam dunk that ongoing, live, interactive soft skills training is a necessity, not a luxury. The better care you take of your employees, the better your employees take care of your customers.
Invest in your people, the outcome is well worth it.
ROSANNE D’AUSILIO, Ph.D., an industrial psychologist, consultant, master trainer, best selling author, executive coach, customer service expert, and President of Human Technologies Global, Inc., specializes in human performance management. Over the last 23 years, she has provided needs analyses, instructional design, and customized, live customer service skills trainings as well as executive/leadership coaching. Also offered is agent and facilitator university certification through Purdue University’s (News - Alert) Center for Customer Driven Quality.
Known as ‘the practical champion of the human,’ she authors best sellers “Wake Up Your Call Center: Humanize Your Interaction Hub,” 4th ed, “Customer Service and the Human Experience,” “Lay Your Cards on the Table: 52 Ways to Stack Your Personal Deck (includes a 32-card deck of cards) — motivational and inspirational readings, and hot off the press How to Kick Your Customer Service Up A Notch: 101 Insider Tips (http://www.customer-service-expert.com) as well as her popular complimentary ‘tips’ newsletter on How To Kick Your Customer Service Up A Notch! available at http://www.HumanTechTips.com
Rosanne is also a Certified Call Center Benchmarking Auditor through Purdue University’s Center for Customer Driven Quality. This certification training focuses on the access and use of key performance data to help better understand benchmarking results so as to advise on practical solutions for improvement.
For 10 years prior to starting her own organization, Rosanne had responsibility for marketing, budgeting, promoting and ultimately producing domestic and international computerized trade shows in the US, London, Belgium, and Frankfurt. She inaugurated, created, trained and directed a telemarketing on-site staff and was one of the first 150 people to attain CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) certification.
She is a columnist for TMCnet.com and supportindustry.com. She represents the human element on the Advisory Board of an Italian software company. She authors numerous articles for industry newsletters, and is a much sought after dynamic, vibrant, internationally prominent keynote speaker.

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