Big brands failing their multi-channel customers
UK organisations, including top brands and local government, have hit rock bottom in their delivery of multi-channel customer service, according to the nGenera Online Customer Service Index, which noted an average score of only 33% for effective customer service provided through web site help sections, email and live chat.
Only 3% of the web sites examined offered a full multi-channel service comprising email, an online help section and web chat. Overall, retail was the best performing sector for multi-channel customer service with a score of 39%, followed by travel and leisure (36%) and utilities (33%). Local government scored only 29%, only just ahead of financial services providers at the bottom of the Online Customer Service Index with 28%.
Despite email being the preferred communication channel for many consumers, ahead of using the telephone, email service standards were worryingly low. Some 28% of organisations did not provide an email option and, of those that did, only 14% responded within 12 hours (and 47% failed to answer an email within four weeks of receiving it). More than one third (36%) delivered automated acknowledgements with expected response times, but one in four failed to meet their own deadlines.
A high proportion (87%) of the companies studied provided some level of online help but over one third (39%) were not searchable, making it hard for online visitors to find the right information.
The majority of companies (74%) also provided only one online customer service option (primarily email or an online help section). Only three call centres in the study offered live chat.
According to Matthew Haines, European managing director for nGenera, "It is shocking that, despite widespread awareness of consumer preferences for multi-channel communication, companies are continuing to ignore those demands. Meanwhile, call volumes continue to grow, agent frustration is at an all-time high and phone queues remain a major source of frustration for consumers."
The full survey report has been made available for download from nGenera's web site - click here (free registration required).