Interactive Intelligence Group Inc., a global provider of software and services designed to improve the customer experience, has released findings of its second annual Global Customer Service Survey.
The survey, which was administered by independent research firm, Actionable Research, was designed to answer the question, “What are the customer service expectations and preferences of consumers and the IT professionals who work for companies providing service?”
“This survey uncovered many interesting differences between the attitudes of consumers and IT professionals,” said Joe Staples, Interactive Intelligence chief marketing officer. “For instance, while 61 percent of IT professionals found interactive voice response a valuable service, only 37 percent of consumers did. These types of findings are the first step toward better aligning the expectations of those receiving and providing service.”
Based on the customer service primary research, the top 10 key findings were as follows:
Although alternate channels are making inroads, a phone call with an agent is still the preferred communications channel by consumers (51 percent). Email was the next preferred method at 18 percent, followed by Web chat at 11 percent, which was similar to last year.
A timely response is the most valued factor by consumers and IT professionals in a customer service interaction. Next valued by consumers is a knowledgeable agent, while next valued by IT professionals is professionalism.
Not being able to understand the agent on the phone and a condescending agent are equally the greatest consumer frustrations. This year both were equal at 75 percent, followed by an initial long wait time at 64 percent. These results are similar to last year.
If an agent is condescending or demanding, the majority of consumers (62 percent) say they are likely to seek an alternate vendor. Nearly half (48 percent) would seek an alternate vendor if the agent lacks appropriate knowledge, and 47 percent would do so if an agent shows a lack of effort.
The majority of consumers (64 percent) said that they tell others when they have a positive customer service experience. This is up from 59 percent last year.
Only 10 percent of consumers are willing to pay for a higher level of service. Note that 16 percent would pay more if the cost was reasonable.
Nearly half of consumers (45 percent) always or usually make purchase decisions based solely on customer service.
Consumers are more likely to share a positive experience using social media (37 percent), than they are to share a negative experience (29 percent).
IT professionals stated that offering an easy way for customers to provide feedback was the most valuable service (56 percent). This was followed by the ability to transfer customer information from agent to agent (53 percent), and having complete interaction history accessible by agents across communications channels (52 percent).
When using a mobile device to obtain service, consumers ranked the ability to get a callback once an agent becomes available as the most valuable mobile capability.
This is followed by phone self-service then automated proactive notifications. The customer service survey, which was conducted between March 27 and April 24, 2014, was based on a respondent sample size of 1,462 and 459 for consumer and IT professionals, respectively. Respondents resided in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, South Africa, Sweden, the U.K., and the U.S.
A 32-page report containing the complete survey results can be downloaded here: http://www.inin.com/resources/Documents/Customer-Service-Experience-Research-Study.pdf.
A 13-page executive summary of the report can be downloaded here: http://www.inin.com/resources/Documents/Customer-Service-Experience-Research-Study-Executive-Summary.pdf.