The survey, conducted by PeopleSupport, Inc., a provider of multi-channel Web-based customer service solutions, says 40% identified service quality as their organization's number one challenge, and 30% named cost control the most pressing issue. PeopleSupport says the survey was conducted in January 2001 via Web interviews of senior executives of large enterprise companies.
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, according to PeopleSupport. It says companies are challenged to increase multi-channel service quality while keeping costs in check.
"As consumers' service quality expectations increase in both online and offline environments, we are seeing numerous companies struggle with managing their call centers and contact centers effectively," said Lance Rosenzweig, CEO of PeopleSupport. "Companies must find 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 whether to provide services in-house, outsource, or use some combination of the two approaches."
"Additionally, the best way to meet customers' expectations is to understand what is important to them," Rosenzweig added. "For example, which customers prefer email versus voice versus chat? As a company becomes more familiar with its customers' preferred medium of contact, the company can create a customer service strategy that incorporates the right mix of customer service agents and technology -- ultimately improving service quality in a cost effective way."
PeopleSupport says the survey participants included vice presidents, directors, and other customer service, IT and operations professionals from leading retail organizations. The survey was part of an interactive Webinar conducted by PeopleSupport, Inc.
Other pressing issues ranked 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%), according to the survey.