Bad Contact Center Experiences Can Mean a Mass Customer Exodus

Delivering a poor customer experience can have a significant impact on a brand or organization, according to new research from Mitel which found how important the role of contact centers is in driving customer loyalty and retention. According to the research, almost three quarters (74 percent) of UK adults said that they would change companies based on a poor experience with the contact center, with 46 percent of these consumers confirming they have already switched for this reason.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults, carried out in September 2013, reveals that personal touch is critical to delivering a positive experience, followed by fast and effective service. The most important factor for consumers when contacting a brand or company is being able to interact with a real person, not an automated service (54 percent), followed by getting a quick response (49 percent) and having a query resolved immediately (44 percent).

Email is by far the most popular channel at this time, used by 72 percent of respondents. Less established communication methods like live chat and social media are currently used by 10 percent of UK adults, although the signs are that these Internet-based channels will grow in importance, with one in five adults under 35 already using Facebook or Twitter to contact brands.

The research also revealed the critical role of the telephone in the customer service communications mix and in driving customer satisfaction. It is currently used by 49 percent of consumers when they contact companies, but is the number one channel of choice for voicing frustration.

Premium rate numbers, getting cut off mid-call, being left on hold and automated telephone services all rank in the top five frustrations of UK consumers when contacting a brand or service, via any channel. In contrast, only 13 percent of survey respondents ranked not receiving a response to an email in their top five pet peeves.

"We live in a world where consumers are in charge and switching your supplier is routine and easily achievable,” Todd Simons, director solutions marketing, Mitel, said in a statement. “Companies need to work hard to both retain customers and attract new ones. Customer service teams need solutions that will empower them to deliver high levels of service across every channel, and our research shows that getting this right over the telephone can have an impact on a company's bottom line."