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Customers are shouting, but is anybody listening?
Most British consumers (89%) are likely to tell the organisations they do business with if they receive poor service, yet almost half (44%) do not believe they take notice of, or really care about, the feedback shared, according to a study published this week by the Customer Contact Association and sponsored by Verint Systems.
The study, based on parallel surveys of UK consumers and CCA member organisations, shows that social media is widely seen by consumers as an effective means for people to discuss their experiences, good and bad, and compel organisations to take action. Almost half (46%) say they are likely to voice their dissatisfaction through social media. Further, approaching half (46%) of consumers agree that "social media can hold brands and organisations to account like never before."
However, a third of CCA member organisations polled indicate they overlook social media completely with most respondents reporting that they look at fewer than 2% of customer interactions across these web-based channels. Further, 62% of business respondents admit they would benefit from a better understanding of what their customers say on social media.
The study also uncovers gaps between where consumers communicate and how organisations listen. Nearly four organisations out of five regularly monitor complaints, while 70% regularly monitor calls handled in the contact centre. For consumers surveyed, the most widely-used means of providing feedback direct to organisations is by post or email, with 44% of respondents citing this as their preferred route. Yet 65% of organisations surveyed report they refer to fewer than one quarter of the emails they receive for customer insight. For letters, the proportion rockets to 75%.
Additionally, contact centre agents' own notes are largely overlooked - just one third of the businesses surveyed say they regularly refer to these information sources for customer insight.
The popularity of social media with 16-24 year-olds highlights another gap in how organisations listen and respond. Two thirds of this age group report that they use social media to talk about bad experiences, and 61% discuss positive experiences here. More than half (59%) of all consumers agreed that brands should use what people say on social media to improve their service - an indication, perhaps, that organisations are still struggling to formulate a coherent strategy here.
"The CCA and Verint study shows organisations are making efforts to understand what their customers tell them. It's encouraging to see organisations using surveys, for example, to gauge customer satisfaction," reports David Parcell, Verint Managing Director EMEA and Corporate Officer.
"However, given all the ways in which consumers discuss their experiences, surveys are just the tip of the iceberg. Below the waterline, there is a huge amount of untapped information in recorded phone calls, emails, conversations on social media and even employees' own notes - all of which can provide organisations with a true voice of the customer. Today, many leading brands are at the forefront of analysing the voices of their customers with great precision."
Anne-Marie Forsyth, Chief Executive, Customer Contact Association explains further: "Organisations are devoting much time and effort to responding to the voice of the customer but operating in a multi-channel environment requires a fresh approach. We need to apply new intelligent monitoring techniques if we are to prevent valuable insight from slipping through the cracks.
"Consumers, particularly younger ones, are far more likely to turn to Facebook than pick up a phone to make their views known. Those that do will stand the best chance of courting and keeping the customers of the future but also the brand ambassadors of the future."
The research was conducted via the Contact Centre Association member organisation database and among 2,029 British consumers aged 16 - 64. General consumers were interviewed online using Ipsos Interactive Panels Online Omnibus. Fieldwork took place over two weekends: 9th - 11th September 2011 and 16th -18th September 2011. In addition to the consumer poll, 107 respondents from Customer Contact Association member organisations completed the questionnaire.
CCA is the leading independent authority on customer contact. Almost 900 organisations currently subscribe to CCA membership services. This equates to a network of over 5,000 senior practitioners, employing between 35% and 45% of the contact centre population in the UK. Around 20% - 25% of people working in a contact centre in the UK are working in a centre accredited with CCA Global Standard.
Verint Witness Actionable Solutions is a global leader in enterprise workforce optimisation software and services. As the market's first 5th-Generation WFO solution, its unified Impact 360 suite enables organisations of all sizes to capture, analyse and act on customer, business and market intelligence, and optimise customer experiences. Impact 360 Workforce Optimisation - comprised of quality monitoring and recording, voice of the customer analytics, desktop and process analytics, workforce management, performance management, eLearning, coaching and more - serves as a strategic asset across front- and back-office sales and service operations that help shape the customer experience. Used by thousands of organisations around the globe, Verint solutions help improve the entire customer service delivery network, powering decisions Real Time at the Right Time to advance service excellence across today's customer-centric enterprises.
More than 10,000 organisations in over 150 countries - including over 85% of the Fortune 100-use Verint solutions to capture, distil and analyse complex and underused information sources, such as voice, video and unstructured text.
24th November 2011