NICE Systems recently conducted a Consumer Channel Preference Survey on the communications channels preferred by consumers when contacting business and service providers. The survey reveals that the role of the contact center is evolving to "Tier 2" status, that is – for taking care of escalated service requests that were not addressed by other channels such as the web or Interactive Voice Response (IVR). This change in consumer behavior reflects the importance and strategic role that the contact center must play as the front line of an organization’s person-to-person customer interactions. It also highlights an opportunity for reducing the number of calls that are deflected into the contact center by enhancing web self-service functionality. To do this, however, an organization requires cross-channel insights that are derived from both the web and the contact center interactions.
The survey polled more than 2,000 people, between the ages of 18 – 65, in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, regarding channel preference when contacting companies in the following industries: financial services, telecom, retail, travel, and insurance. It revealed that consumers often use a variety of communication channels. When they are unable to resolve an issue during their initial contact with a business, they most often turn to the contact center.
In such a case, the stakes are raised for an organization, as consumers calling a contact center are frustrated, well informed, and their main concern is having their issues addressed effectively. From their perspective, they have begun an "interaction journey," which was started at a prior touch point. This means that even if an issue is resolved by the contact center representative the customer will not consider it a ‘First Contact Resolution.’ The survey also showed that the very nature of this ‘journey’ means that consumers are turning to contact enters with more complex needs than they did in the past.
Some of the key results of the survey include:
- 64% of consumers surveyed contact a business through its website at least monthly;
- 44% call the contact center at least once monthly; and likewise – 55% visit a physical location;
- Of those who cannot resolve their issue through the website, 53% will call the contact center next;In cases where customers do not resolve an issue during a visit to a business’s premises (e.g. branch office), 51% of respondents then turn to the contact center for assistance;
- 35% of consumers prefer to interact with a live phone representative for service-related issues, whereas only 22% prefer to interact with a live phone representative for purchase related issues.