The recently released 2015 Dimension Data Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report highlights a serious problem in the customer contact realm: the fact that customer experience levels have dropped for the fourth consecutive year, and are at their lowest level since 2011. More than half of the surveyed companies reported a connection between customer experience levels and profit growth, confirming that improving customer experience is vital to revenue.
While the Report states that the customer's highest priority is getting their problem resolved quickly and easily, the choice of contact method was also important for customers. For the past four years the highest percentage of customers have been able to reach a resolution over the phone, but now more than two thirds of customers have resolved problems via a non-voice channel such as email or social media.
Findings in the Report suggest that customers are starting to prefer these alternative methods of contact, which could be key in understanding why customer experience levels have fallen. The next generation of consumers, those younger than 34, prefer contact via social media, webchat or email. Their preference for voiceless communication has spread to their elders as well; Generation X still prefers to use the telephone, but email is a very close second. The report suggests that in the next year, email may usurp telephone's number one spot for Generation X.
As the next generation is less likely to use the telephone, it is easy to see why they might have a bad experience if they are forced to resolve their problems through their least preferred avenue of communication. Consumers may report a bad experience, even if their problems were resolved perfectly, simply because they could not contact the company in their preferred method.
It is important to focus not only on resolving a customer's problems quickly and easily, but also to make available the methods of communication that the next generation prefers and is comfortable with. The Benchmarking Report states that 35% of interactions are digital and estimates this number will only continue to rise, so focusing on these channels will be important in improving the customer experience.