Research commissioned by customer service specialists KANA® Software suggests many organisations are overlooking the potential for customer service improvements that could drive revenue.
The survey of UK Contact Centre Association (CCA) members included a diverse mix of industry sectors, from financial services, to local government and retail. It reveals that only 40 percent (39.6 percent) believe senior management places a clear focus on customer service as a way to drive revenue; noting one-fifth of respondents (20.8 percent) think there is little or no focus on customer service at a senior level.
The survey also found that the majority of respondents are unconvinced of the link between customer service and the bottom line. Well below half (41.5 percent) take a keen interest in revenue loss resulting from poor customer service. According to the data, one-in-10 management teams pay no attention to the financial implications of a poor customer service experience.
Improving quality and reducing the “cost to serve” are currently seen as primary challenges in today’s organisations. The research also highlights what call centre agents perceive as key barriers to providing a better service: outdated systems, lack of investment, agent skills gaps and a lack of understanding or support at a senior level.
“Unfortunately, the contact centre is often seen as an operational expense and nothing more,” says Steven Thurlow, head of worldwide product strategy for KANA. “Often, senior management will review functional aspects, such as speed of handling times and resolution times. This approach is unlikely to drive further investment and instead maintains a focus on efficiency above all else. Fast service and good customer experiences are not always the same thing. Strategic investments in people, processes and the technology platforms that can aid them should be considered by the C-suite and across organisations.”
Thurlow adds, “The commercial value of an effective call centre, balanced against mitigating and eliminating the potential damages of poor customer service, should not be overlooked. A contact centre is not an unavoidable cost – it can be an invaluable tool.”
The Contact Centre Association (CCA) surveyed a representative sample of its 5,000 senior practitioner members in the UK during November 2013 to determine current attitudes and behaviours. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 5%. Responses were received from 82 member organisations, including private and public sectors, outsourcers and in-house contact centres. Respondents were from a range of industry sectors. Survey findings were analysed and interpreted in a desk research phase alongside contextual information from other studies, expert insights gleaned from external sources, views of senior industry figures within the CCA network, and material within CCA’s extensive research archive.