Nearly three-quarters of business decision makers admit their customer service initiatives are primarily focused on getting the basics right, even as consumers demand more advanced personalized experiences, according to a Pegasystems survey of more than 1,000 consumers and business decision makers.
While nearly 60 percent of businesses believe their customer service representatives quickly respond to their customers every time, the majority of consumers disagree.
In fact, only 27 percent of telecommunications and broadband customers feel their provider meets this speed threshold, indicating that businesses need to speed up response time to meet customer expectations.
"The most surprising finding from the survey was how many customer-centric businesses haven’t progressed beyond the basics of customer service at a time when customer service expectations are reaching new heights among consumers," Don Schuerman, CTO and vice president of product marketing for Pegasystems, told eWEEK. "For example, only 20 percent of the businesses we surveyed are working on developing omni-channel integration capabilities, which I believe are essential to providing good customer service in today’s omni-channel world."
Customers say that one of their top three customer service problems is with companies that fail to listen to their needs, despite the fact that retail banking organizations optimistically self-rank this capability as their top customer service attribute, indicating a major disconnect.
"Today’s empowered customer is quick to take their business elsewhere if they don’t receive quality service," Schuerman explained. "For example, one in four banking and telco and broadband consumers surveyed would start looking for a new service provider if they received poor customer service. Getting the basics right is essential to maintain good customer relationships but it won’t help a business compete effectively in today’s digital age."
Twenty-seven percent of retail banking customers and 38 percent of telco and broadband customers say it is likely they will switch one of their providers in the next 12 months.
However, on average, these businesses feel their annual churn rate is only around 18 percent (17 percent for retail banks and 19 percent for telco/broadband).
"Customers are going to continue to expect faster, more relevant and personalized service from any channel, at any time, so it’s up to brands to have the infrastructure in place to respond quickly and in a way that makes sense to the customer," Schuerman said. "Mobile is going to play an important role, as we see how reliant today’s consumers are on their smart phones and tablets, but mobile must be connected to existing channels."
For brands, he said it’s critical that consumers have efficient, reliable access to customer service through their mobile devices, particularly when digital disruptors are threatening their business, and that the mobile experience extends across other traditional channels like contact center and retail.