Voice of the Customer

NICE inContact has launched a ground-breaking study comparing how businesses rate their success across more than 10 customer experience channels versus the actual experience and satisfaction that customers report in those channels.

The new research, the second wave of the NICE inContact Customer Experience Transformation Benchmark Study, analyzes how customer service organizations think they are delivering in both agent-assisted and self-service channels including interactions with contact center agents via phone, email, chat, social media, and text as well as through web self-service, mobile applications, and interactive voice response (IVR). The research demonstrates a significant disconnect in how businesses perceive their customer service channels are performing, and how consumers actually feel about the level of service they are receiving.

The gap in agent-assisted channels is 18 points between what businesses and consumers report with businesses rating overall success of 63 percent for inbound/outbound calls, online chat/video, SMS Text, and social media. Whereas consumers give those same channels only 45 percent success rating—a gap of 18 points. The biggest difference is with inbound/outbound voice calls at 28 points.

For self-service channels businesses report an overall success rate of 52 percent for customer satisfaction, yet consumers give only 39 percent success rating—a gap of 13 points. Self-service channels included website, mobile app, automated phone menu, and virtual assistants (i.e. chatbots). For these channels, the biggest difference is with automated phone menu or interactive voice response (IVR) with a gap of 27 points.

The new research builds on the first wave of the customer experience study that revealed consumer responses, published in April 2017. The NICE inContact second wave research surveyed businesses to gain insight into how they think they are meeting customer service needs, which channels businesses prefer to communicate through, and how satisfied businesses think their customers are with service experiences across channels. The results confirmed that businesses are offering multiple channels to satisfy customers’ needs and preferences, as well focusing on being quick and providing complete information, regardless of channel.

“While both businesses and consumers agree that omnichannel options are essential for positive customer experiences, there is a clear divide in how successfully businesses are delivering those experiences across channels, and what priorities should be,” said Paul Jarman, CEO at NICE inContact. “It’s imperative that businesses pay closer attention to consumer preferences, and deploy technologies and strategies that best meet those needs – as quickly as possible, across all service channels.”

The Disconnect Between Businesses and Consumers

  • Online chat is viewed by consumers as the channel with the highest satisfaction rating—yet businesses rate chat as their least successful channel.

Only 16 percent of businesses selected chat as one of their top three most preferred channels whereas 39 percent consumers placed online chat as one of their most preferred channels. While phone calls and email are still preferred more highly by both business and consumers, chat represents an opportunity for businesses to meet consumers in a highly preferred channel.

  • For agent-assisted channels, businesses rate email a success despite low customer satisfaction

Sixty-four percent of businesses rate email a successful channel for customer interactions, while only 43 percent of consumers are satisfied when using that channel.

  • Major disconnect between how consumers and businesses rate mobile apps

Consumers most consistently rate mobile apps as the channel that elicits the most positive emotions for customer serviceBusinesses, however, underestimate the impact, with mobile apps rated as one of the least likely to produce consumer positivity.

  • Businesses misaligned with customers on personalization

Twenty-one percent of consumers studied rate personalized service as a top priority, compared to only 13 percent of businesses.

Where Businesses and Consumers Agree

  • Research shows agent-assisted phone calls are king, yet consumers still expect omnichannel options  

Businesses believe they have the highest service resolution success rates with the phone (68 percent), and consumers reported to prefer phone interactions the most. More than 50 percent of businesses offer all agent-assisted and self-service options (online chat/video, SMS, social media), even though most customers still heavily rely on phone calls for fastest resolution.

  • Speed is the highest priority for both customers and businesses

For self-service channels, both businesses and customers agree that fast resolution is the number one priority for customer service. For agent-assisted, businesses prioritize providing the most complete information over speed, though customers still rate speed the top priority.

  • Fifty-two percent of consumers strongly agree – point them in the direction of fastest resolution

More than half of consumers expect companies to point them to the channel that will resolve the solution the fastestBusinesses understand the importance of speed, too, with 51 percent strongly agreeing that this is key to consumers.

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