Agent Phone Calls Still #1 Customer Service Channel, Report Says
April 10, 2018
By: Jason Sterns
A phone call with a live agent is still the number one channel for customer service despite the many options currently available (IVR, chat, email, and more).
That’s according to the 2018 Contact Center Satisfaction Index (CCSI), a report compiled each year by market research consulting firm CFI Group, which measures how well contact centers are delivering service to customers.
The report states that 79 percent of customers call on the phone when contacting customer service while 20 percent connect with live agents by email and 12 percent use online chat.
Overall, customer satisfaction is up by three percent over 2017, an increase due mainly to improvements with contact center agents. Customers generally feel agents are now more capable of understanding their situation and providing accurate information to address the issue than in the past, the report says.
The report does argue that companies must do more than measure interactions with agents, advocating instead for a customer service journey measurement approach that effectively integrates all three customer touchpoint categories: digital properties (websites, mobile apps, etc.), automated interactions (IVR, chatbots), and live agents.
The report says 72 percent of customers visit digital properties to resolve their issue before contacting customer service, making digital channels a critical component of a company’s customer service efforts.
“Before customers reach out to contact customer service about an issue, more than 2 out of 3 of them will first visit one or more digital properties in an effort to solve the issue on their own,” the report states. “If the problem isn’t solved with Digital Properties, the customer contacts customer service and reaches an Automated Interaction, a Live Agent, or both.”
Eighty-eight percent of customers who reach an IVR still end up talking to a live agent to resolve their issue, according to the report. By the time customers call customer service, they are no longer looking to self-serve; they want to speak with a live agent who can assist them quickly.
“A full 50 percent of all callers who reach an IVR just skip right past it, making no attempt to use it,” the report says.
The report adds that even though social media use is growing, with three percent of customers engaging live agents via Facebook, voice phone calls still dominate as customers’ channel of choice and is likely to remain that way for the near future.
While the dependence on live agents remains, that does not mean contact centers should neglect other channels. As mentioned, 20 percent use email, an increase of six percent since 2017, and 12 percent use online chat, up from nine percent in 2017. Both channels are expected to grow going forward.
It does mean, however, that professionally-trained agents who can deliver first call resolution and low call handle times are critical for ensuring an excellent contact center experience. It also means a growing need for organizations to provide a consistent customer experience across all channels as well as measuring consistent metrics across these same channels.
That’s where Transparent BPO can help. We offer the best of both worlds: multi-channel options such as IVR, chat, email, and voice (both inbound and outbound) coupled with well-trained, highly-skilled, and inherently customer-centric agents who not only provide excellent customer service at every stage of the customer journey but also understand your business needs and goals.
To learn how we can help keep your customers satisfied, contact us via email or call us at 1-800-276-5140. A member of our team will be happy to answer your questions and get you headed in the right direction. Experience the difference Transparent BPO can make for your company.