Hear, Hear: Listen to What Customers Say They Want in a Contact Center Experience

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It takes two to connect, so it's critical that contact centers not simply be available to customers, but be available through the channels customers prefer. Communication channels proliferate daily, and contact centers must pay close attention to customer trends in order to keep pace with where and how customers want to engage at the moment. Findings from the CFI Group Contact Center Satisfaction Index 2013 (CCSI), published in February, offer critical insights into what customers say they want in today's contact center experience.

In its seventh year, CCSI collected data from more than 1,500 consumers across six major industries: banking, cell phone service, health insurance, property insurance, retail, and cable or satellite TV. The research tracks specific drivers of customer satisfaction— representative's knowledge, representative's demeanor, ease of understanding, policies and procedures, contact process, and IVR machine —to show which features and benefits most impact satisfaction.

Listen up! CCSI findings are very telling

The research found that customer satisfaction with company contact centers dropped a staggering 10 percent between 2012 and 2013. With a score of 69 (on a 100 point scale), the 2013 score reflects an eight-point decrease from the record high of 77 in 2012.

There are numerous factors likely driving this decline. The first is low economic confidence and fatigue on behalf of consumers amid an economy whose recovery has stalled. The second is that after years of steady growth in contact center performance, consumers have developed a high expectation of great service; against this standard, even moderate or acceptable performance would fail to satisfy customers.

CCSI satisfaction driver data suggests that improving contact processes and policies and procedures can influence higher customer satisfaction, but it also indicates where contact centers would realize lower ROI. According to the research, focusing on representative knowledge, representative demeanor, or ease of understanding would have little to no greater impact on driving a higher satisfaction score.

Still, while overall satisfaction is dropping, the research identified an opportunity for contact centers to increase satisfaction through noncall channels. The desire for self-paced or instantaneous service was reflected in CCSI 2012, and findings from the most recent research show that desire is firmly intact: Nearly half of respondents indicated their preferred method of contact would be a noncall communication, such as email, chat, 

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Posted March 04, 2015