Milwaukee, Wis. – September 30, 2014 – Cloud contact center provider, CorvisaCloud, today shared results of its second annual Customer Service Report, a survey of more than 1,200 U.S. consumers that analyzed trends such as key service issues, industries with excellent and poor customer service, and top approaches for keeping customers happy. Key findings reveal that 60 percent of respondents reported an improvement in customer service since 2013, yet identified critical areas of concern and frustration such as unknowledgeable and inarticulate agents. Compared to the 2013 report, consumers reported a 10 percent increase in the frequency they are contacting customer service on a monthly basis.
"This year's survey proves that companies are recognizing the importance of listening to customers and implementing strategies that address customer needs, but it also uncovered that 'good enough' still isn't cutting it," said Matt Lautz, president and CIO, CorvisaCloud. "In order to effectively compete, businesses of all sizes need to invest in the right people and technology to make sure they’re wow-ing customers instead of just covering the basics."
Room for Improvement
The good news is that the quality of customer service is progressing, but there are ongoing issues and industries that still need improvement. Nearly half of respondents (49 percent) claim that call center agents are uninformed and difficult to understand. And when agents can be understood, survey participants report they sound robotic, as if reading from a script (80 percent) and not really listening. In addition, hold times continue to vex customers, as 32 percent of customers will hang up after waiting five minutes. Lastly, 18 percent report one of the biggest areas where businesses customer service could improve is in making sure information the customer has already shared is passed along when the call is transferred.
The Best & Worst Industries
All industries are not created equal when it comes to customer service. Cable companies are still the worst customer service offenders, according to 47 percent of consumers surveyed, up 16 percent from last year. Conversely, almost one-third (30 percent) identified the hospitality industry as the best provider of customer service. Also of note, small businesses seem to have an edge with 49 percent of respondents ranking them as providing the best at customer service, with only 11 percent believing large companies do it best.
How Call Centers Can Up the Ante
While today's customers can connect with companies in a variety of ways, phone calls still reign supreme. Survey respondents indicated that they still prefer to pick up the trusty phone (55 percent) rather than use other mediums such as email/web forms (22 percent) and chat (12 percent). And when it comes to time of day, those surveyed overwhelmingly indicated they pick up the phone to call customer service in the afternoon (43 percent) or morning (40 percent). The takeaways for contact center managers? While it's important to manage all your channels, the phone isn’t going away any time soon so making sure phone lines are adequately staffed during peak hours will be key to lowering hold times and preventing customer frustration.
Beyond how and when consumers prefer to contact customer service, survey results showed that service quality is critical as well. Almost 50 percent of consumers said they have experienced challenges trying to get an issue with a service or product resolved, underscoring the need for more informed and helpful agents. Speaking of staff, the survey identified Anderson Cooper as the celebrity persona best suited for customer service—30 percent agreed that Cooper's straightforward and smart communication style is ideal for a call center agent—traits to keep in mind when hiring and training agents.
So while customers feel progress is being made, businesses and contact centers alike still have ample opportunity to turn service into a competitive advantage. Based on survey insights, CorvisaCloud has developed a list of tips to help companies get a jumpstart toward improving the customer service experience.
* CorvisaCloud polled 1,214 individuals via an online uSamp survey between August 25, 2014 and August 28, 2014. The margin of error is +/- 2.98 percentage points.
About ShoreTel, Inc.
ShoreTel, Inc. (NASDAQ: SHOR) is a leading provider of brilliantly simple unified communications (UC) products, cloud services and IP phone systems powering today’s always-on workforce. Its flexible communications solutions for contact centers and cloud, onsite and hybrid UC environments eliminate complexity, reduce cost and improve productivity. Recognized for its industry-leading customer experience and support, ShoreTel’s innovative contact center solutions, application integration, collaboration tools, mobility, SIP trunking and business phones enable users to communicate and collaborate no matter the time, place or device, with minimal demand on IT resources. ShoreTel is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., and has regional offices and partners worldwide. For more information, visit www.shoretel.com.
Since 2001, Utah-based master agency CarrierSales (www.carriersales.com) has built one of the most successful telecom and cloud practices in the nation. With the ability to fulfill the business requirements of both large enterprises and small- and medium-sized businesses across the United States, it has supported its sales partners with dedicated attention, unparalleled back office support and aggressive commissions, as well as a forward-thinking portfolio that’s tailored to capture smart revenue opportunities in cloud, mobility, IT and data services, as well as legacy offerings.
A proud member of the Alliance Partners, CarrierSales shares the group’s mission of fostering best business practices nationwide for the channel ecosystem, and creating an environment of continuous growth and improvement that benefits partners, suppliers and clients alike.
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