Brands still failing at cross-channel customer experiences

by | Jun 12, 2017 | Public Relations

Regardless of channel, consumers are not getting the “fast resolutions” they demand from brand customer experiences, according to new research from omnichannel software firm inContact, which identifies gaps in customer satisfaction across 10 different customer service channels.

The newly released inContact Customer Experience Transformation Benchmark Study demonstrates the critical need for companies to improve their cross-channel experience, revealing that less than half of customers are satisfied with their experience, regardless of communication channel.

To gain further understanding into customer experience expectations, inContact surveyed consumers to determine their perceptions for where companies are falling short, how technology is affecting service, and consumer preferences for channels and methods of communication. The results confirmed that delivering excellent omnichannel customer service continues to be a major business pain point, revealing key areas where companies are not meeting consumer demands.

Brands still failing at cross-channel customer service

Some of the major findings include:

Consumers still prefer speaking to a human customer service agent, despite industry’s focus on self-service channels

The study revealed that speaking to a live person is still the most preferred way to deal with customer service—less than half (42 percent) of respondents are satisfied with communication through agent-assisted and self-service channels. As businesses today explore and adopt automation technologies to improve contact center operations, they need to consider strategies and solutions where technology can augment human interactions—not replace them—in order to ensure fluidity between channels.

Email and interactive voice response (IVR) are most frustrating customer service channels

According to the results, IVR and email have the lowest consumer performance ratings and elicit the strongest emotions of anger, disgust and frustration. Consumers reported that these channels are less personalized, slow and do not provide complete information, and that the phone is the most preferred and effective method of communication. Specifically, the survey revealed that email is the least effective method of resolution, with over one-third reporting the issue as ‘still ongoing’ or ‘nothing more the company can do.’

Millennials give companies poor customer service ratings, have higher expectations

Only 45 percent of millennials surveyed expressed satisfaction across customer service channels. Millennials cited that they expect brands to know their purchase history, be proactive and have seamless omnichannel integration. For self-service channels, such as websites, apps, bots and IVR, customer service ratings increased with age, further confirming that Gen X holds companies to higher standards.

Airlines, retailers and credit card companies provide highest quality customer service

Several industries are leading the pack in driving better omnichannel customer experiences. At the same time, industries such as fast food, Internet providers and car rentals have the lowest-rated service as they fail to provide sufficient customer service. These industry-specific findings demonstrate the need to customize service channels based on users and on specific business needs.

“This important research confirms that, even as we make incredible advances in technology and automation, companies are still struggling to deliver consistent, excellent customer service across all touchpoints,” said Paul Jarman, CEO at inContact, in a news release. “To stay competitive, businesses today need to win every interaction with their customers. Cloud contact center technology enables companies to meet and exceed consumers’ high expectations by deploying technology that enables seamless customer service, regardless of the channel.”

Download the complete study here.

inContact surveyed more than 700 consumers who had experienced a customer service interaction in the past three months. Data was collected between March 1 and 23, 2017. 

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter