Advancements in telecommunications and the rise of social media have enabled consumers to be vocal in ways that brands are still trying to understand. The relationship between customers and companies, for better or worse, is forever changed. Now, the customer has more control, and more power in choosing when, where and how they interact with brands.
In the business functions most concerned with the customer experience such as marketing and customer care, this relationship revolution is perhaps most apparent. But addressing this paradigm shift in a way that delivers positive, consistent company-customer interactions across channels and throughout every engagement is something that will impact the entire enterprise. Findings in a new Aspect survey compiled by TNS (News - Alert) reveals some insights on consumer sentiments about customer service in the midst of this consumer change.
Multichannel Customer Service is Preferred
Customers have enthusiastically embraced every new channel even as the number of them continue to increase. And for organizations that have kept up with this, there is good news: 77 percent of consumers feel a company that has multiple channels, including phone, e-mail, chat and social media, as a means to contact that company’s customer service are easier to do business with while 74 percent of those surveyed feel that they provide better service.
The Gap in Social Customer Service Continues
A clear disconnect remains between the expectations of consumers and companies’ use of social media for customer care. In fact, 42 percent of respondents said that they’d prefer companies use social media for customer service rather than use it for product promotion. However, only 1 percent felt that social media provides the best customer experience and only 7 percent say that these social channels provided the fastest resolution and the best customer experience.
This gap is a likely indication that most organizations have not fully considered social media as a preferred channel for customer care. But clearly it is time they should. Customers want timely and empowered responses and will not hesitate to vent their dissatisfaction in the social sphere. In fact, 16 percent of consumers confess threatening to share their experience with others while 9 percent say they will push their frustration through social media in an attempt to get their service issue resolved with customer care.
Customers Want More
Consumers are wanting more from brands, but the usual frustrations with customer service continue. Companies are still struggling to address some of consumers’ largest complaints such as like being directed to an automated response (67 percent) and having to repeat themselves (65 percent). This could be in part why 64 percent do not feel they are treated like valued customers when they interact with customer service.
As the contact center is emerging as the new center of the customer experience, companies must begin addressing these trends as well as move toward the gold standard multi-channel experience, where interactions can begin in one channel and seamlessly move to another. Companies must be prepared to join the revolution, adapt and respond to today’s customers, and meet their demands or risk losing them forever.
Jim Freeze is senior vice president and CMO of Aspect (News - Alert) (www.aspect.com).
Edited by Stefania Viscusi