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

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or via the company's Web site. The survey revealed that Web self-service and email dominate the non-phone-call mix of contact channels, but chat and social media are increasingly expected and relied upon.

Specifically, chat as a preferred customer service tool has remained steady at nearly 10 percent for the past two years. In 2012, 5 percent of customers stated that chat was their preferred first contact method, and in 2013 that finding jumped to 9 percent. The fact that chat is no longer a novelty but a vital channel is evident, as 63 percent of this year's respondents indicated that they actively look for the chat function when visiting a company's site.

The most recent data also found that social media is growing as an avenue for customers to share and voice opinions in a community setting and for businesses to conduct damage control, but not necessarily as a first-line service channel. Nearly 40 percent of respondents reported that they had turned to social media to voice a concern, increasing a remarkable degree from 17 percent of respondents, as found the previous year.

Turn information into action

Contact centers committed to continual improvement can show their customers that they hear—and care about —their feedback by taking action.

Analysis of the most recent data indicates that contact centers can take several meaningful steps to adapt to shifting consumer preferences, including:

  • Focus on improving policies and procedures currently in place in an effort to restore—and exceed—previous satisfaction levels.
  • Examine the service aspect of their Web sites with an eye toward customer self-service, not solely marketing and sales activities.
  • Initiate training, testing, and monitoring for noncall channels.
  • Focus on social media as a means of damage control by adopting a formal outreach and recovery protocol for social media posts.
  • Leverage noncall channels beyond the live-call agenda to implement customer feedback programs.

A strong contact center isn't static; it actively responds to what is being shared by customers on the other end of the line (or Internet connection, as is increasingly the case). Through the contact center forum, businesses have a unique opportunity to hear directly from, talk to, and form relationships with their customers. Through research, customers have revealed how they prefer to be communicated with...now it's the contact center's opportunity to adapt to those preferences and show customers it's truly listening.

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Posted March 04, 2015