PeopleSupport, Inc., a provider of multi-channel web-based customer service solutions, conducted the survey. The company says these results highlight the dilemma that numerous retail, healthcare, financial services, technology and communications companies face as they merge their off-line sales and service strategies with newer web-based channels. Companies are challenged to increase multi-channel service quality while keeping costs in check.
Other pressing issues ranked in the survey by importance of top managers at these companies included having up-to-date technology (17%), having skilled employees (10%), and retaining and recruiting employees (3%).
"As consumers' service quality expectations increase in both brick and mortar and web environments, we are seeing numerous companies struggle with managing their call centers and contact centers effectively," says Lance Rosenzweig, CEO of PeopleSupport. "It means finding the right balance of technology, skilled representatives who can handle multiple channels of communication, and integrated customer management solutions. Companies must evaluate their needs carefully to determine if it is best to provide services in-house, outsource, or use some combination of the two approaches."
"Additionally, regardless of the solution, the best way to meet your customers' expectations is to understand what's important to them," Rosenzweig added. "Do more customers prefer email to chat for instance? Once you have an understanding of their preferred medium of contact, you're better able to create a customer service strategy that will deliver the kind of service your customers' expect in a cost effective way."
PeopleSupport says the 40 survey participants included vice presidents, directors, and other customer service, IT and operations professionals from leading retail organizations. They say the survey was part of a PeopleSupport interactive Webinar.