Good Customer Service

The 2011 Global Contact Center Consumer Preference Report published by Avaya reveals that quick query resolution is the most important factor for European consumers when interacting with a company or brand.

Forty two per cent of consumers globally rank speed of query resolution as the most important factor when rating an ideal customer service experience. Across Europe the figures are broken down as UK 41%, Germany 48% and France 44%.

Lee Shorten, Managing Director, UK & Ireland, Avaya, said, “Based on this survey the message from consumers is clear: Time is money! The less time they spend interacting with your contact center the happier, the more loyal and more lucrative they will be. This is a global trend with European customers amongst the most passionate advocates.”

In fact, consumers globally rank good customer service second only to value for money when listing factors that determine brand loyalty. Poor contact center service would make a third (34%) of French customers move their business elsewhere while in the UK and Germany around quarter (27% and 24% respectively) would end their relationship with a company if the customer service did not meet their expectations.

The way in which consumers want to interact with companies is changing to reflect this. Over a third of consumers in UK and Germany (36% and 34% respectively) would like to use smartphone apps to resolve queries while in France the figure is slightly lower (30%). Globally the phone is out of favour with 40% of consumers agreeing that they would prefer to use other methods to interact with customer service centers. This figure rises to 51% in Germany, the second highest figure globally.

Instead email and web self-service are increasingly popular. Globally, 55% of consumers would choose to interact with contact centers via email while 38% would choose web selfservice. This trend is echoed on a country basis with 73% of German, 62% of UK and 48% of French consumers listing email as a preferred mode of communication. Similarly over a third (34%) of German and UK consumers would opt for web self-service with a slightly lower number (29%) in France citing this as their preference.

“Consumers have embraced new modes of communication. They like the speed and convenience that smartphone apps bring to their lives and want this replicated in their dealings with businesses. The good news for companies is that, implemented correctly, these new tools can improve agent response times, increase customer personalisation and actually deliver a lower cost of service.” Lee Shorten continued.

For companies not prepared to adapt to changing customer demands, the bad news is that 86% of customers would tell friends and family about a negative customer service experience that caused them to move their business. Top of their annoyance list is poor customer agent knowledge, waiting too long to speak with an agent and then having to repeat themselves.

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