Infotech Lead America: Call centers are transforming into contact centers – incorporating the Web, email, and other sources — and social media play an important role in raising customer satisfaction and likely recommendations.
In its annual Call Center Satisfaction Index (CCSI), CFI Group, a customer satisfaction measurement technology and analytics firm, said that Web self-service and email dominate the non-phone-call mix of contact channels, but social media are playing a critical role. That role is not as a first-line service channel but rather as a “damage control” mechanism.
Customers who posted their experience with a contact center in social media and then received subsequent follow-up via social media concerning their experience rated their final satisfaction with the contact center experience nearly 20 percent higher than those who received no follow-up. Furthermore, consumers who ranked their likelihood to recommend the company in these cases increased by almost 15 percent.
As the way we communicate with each other continues to evolve, social media is quickly becoming the dominant force in customer buzz. In general, people shared their experience with others 47 percent of the time within the 2012 CCSI sample, up from 45 percent of the time in 2011. Of these people that shared, a full 91 percent of them used social media in some form to do their sharing. Facebook dominated the social media channels, representing 33 percent of the sharing volume.
“We are now truly able to justify calling service centers ‘contact centers’ and not just ‘call centers,” said Terry Redding, director of development and delivery for CFI Group.
The 2012 study also addresses the practice of offshoring and its gradual decline. The 2012 CCSI study shows that 9 percent of call centers are offshoring, compared to its peak in 2008 at 15 percent. CFI Group found that while offshoring as a percentage is decreasing, satisfaction with offshore centers have grown by 20 percent.
Call centers of all types have resumed slow but steady improvements in satisfaction scores after a slight dip in 2011. Key drivers of satisfaction contributed across the board to this overall increase in satisfaction, to a score of 77 on a 100-point scale, with no single driver accounting for a disproportionate amount of the increase.
“In part, this steady improvement can be attributed to the ongoing development and adoption of such innovative technologies as advanced call handling, scheduling, knowledge management and voice/text analytics,” said Redding. “Further, we suspect that as companies have come to realize the importance of the service function to their long-term success, they have raised their game in recruiting and retaining ever more competent managers and business people to oversee this function.”
The most improved satisfaction index scores in 2012 compared to the previous year were for companies in banking, property and casualty insurance, and retail, each of which recovered from a decline in 2011. The only drop in satisfaction among the areas studied was a one-point dip in the personal computer sector.