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SQM is proud to share some of our Customer Contact Channel Usage and Experience Research with you. The research data reveals 20% of customers who used a call center did so because a self-service contact channel failed. In other words, the customer who used two or more contact channels to resolve the same inquiry expected the first channel to resolve their inquiry or problem; however, the self-service channel failed resulting in the customer having to use the call center to resolve their inquiry or problem. The research data also revealed that 37% of customers use two or more contact channels simultaneously to resolve an inquiry or problem. For example, a customer used the web channel while at the same time talking to a customer service representative (CSR). Many SQM clients consider customers using two channels at the same time to resolve an inquiry or problem as a ‘channel assistance practice’. Interestingly, when customers use two channels concurrently to resolve an inquiry or problem, 62% of the time it is the web and call center channels, which is by far the most popular combination of channels being used. The big difference between ‘self-service channel failure’ resulting in having to use the call center to resolve their inquiry or problem and ‘simultaneous channel usage’ is that with ‘simultaneous channel usage’ most customers do not expect one of the channels to resolve their inquiry or problem. Put differently, customers just used one of the channels as an aid to resolve their inquiry or problem. So, when the simultaneous combination is web and call center channels, then the web channel is the aiding channel to resolve their inquiry or problem, and the call center is the channel customers expect will be able to resolve their inquiry or problem.
Given that at least 20% of call center customers use two or more contact channels to resolve the same inquiry or problem because of a self-service channel failure, and 37% of customers use two or more channels at the same time to resolve an inquiry or problem, it should be viewed as essential to understand the customer’s entire contact channels experience if an organization wants to improve Csat. Of the organizations SQM works with that are trying to improve the experience for customers who use two or more contact channels to resolve the same inquiry or problem, many are using an omni-channel strategy. At its core, an omni-channel practice is an integrated customer service approach that provides the customer with a seamless experience to resolve their inquiry or problem. For example, a customer can be shopping online and then decides to phone the call center. With an omni-channel practice, the CSR sees all of the customer’s online information resulting in the customer not having to start their transaction from the beginning; therefore, making it a seamless experience. There is much confusion in the industry on identifying the differences between multi-channel and omni-channel from a customer experience point of view. Essentially, it comes down to the depth of the integration of in terms of people, process and technology within the contact center. To help clarify customer experience differences between the contact channel operating practices, SQM has developed the following definitions:
It has been SQM’s experience that very few organizations know their customers’ satisfaction when using specific contact channels (e.g., IVR self-service, mobile self-service, email, and chat) or when using multiple contact channels to resolve the same inquiry or problem. As a result, SQM is often asked, “What are the differences between one contact resolution, multi-channel and omni-channel customer experience from a customer satisfaction (Csat) point of view?” The below figure shows Csat (top box response) based on the contact channel customer experience for resolving a customer’s inquiry or problem. The main finding is that the easier it is for a customer to resolve their inquiry or problem, the higher the Csat. That is the reason why the One Contact Resolution customer experience has the highest Csat (89%) by far of all the contact channel customer experiences, and is at the world class level for Csat. SQM considers 85% or higher Csat (top box response) to be at the world class Csat level for contact channel experience for resolving an inquiry or problem. Only 5% of SQM’s clients are able to achieve that level of contact channel Csat experience performance for resolving an inquiry or problem. For customers who use two or more channels to resolve the same inquiry, Csat is 39% higher when it is an omni-channel seamless experience than when it is a multi-channel non-seamless experience. Omni-channel Csat is 67% and multi-channel Csat is 28%, which is by far the lowest of all the contact channel customer experiences. Omni-channel Csat for resolving an inquiry or problem is at the 3rd quartile contact channel customer experience performance level, which clearly needs to improve. SQM research shows that providing One Contact Resolution is the best opportunity to provide world class Csat and retain customers.
If you liked this article, you can learn more about the author Mike Desmarais, MBA, and SQM Group.