Only retail improves multichannel experiences
The retail sector comes first in North American for customer service, having increased significantly from a score of 1.8 (below average) out of 4.0 in 2009 to 2.3 (above average) in 2010 - the highest score among all sectors evaluated - according to a study by knowledge management software firm eGain.
The '2010 State of Customer Service Study' evaluated several aspects of web self-service and contact centre customer service, including examinations of 175 leading businesses in the US and Canada, throughout the financial services, retail (both online and real-world), communications, consumer goods manufacturing, insurance, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals sectors.
The company used mystery shopping approach, and measured customer service performance based on several factors: choice of communication channels, email response, web self-service, cross-channel consistency, single-channel (phone) cross-agent consistency, and phone customer service.
Scores were abstracted to an overall Service Quotient (SQ) on a scale of 0.0 to 4.0, by company, by sector, and for the overall market. The quotient scores equate to the following ratings:
- Poor (<1.0)
- Below average (>=1.0 and <2.0)
- Above average (>=2.0 and <3.0)
- Exceptional (3.0 to 4.0)
When comparing retail customer service performance between 2009 and 2010, the study found that:
- Overall performance for the sector improved from 1.8 to 2.3;
- Email customer service improved from 2.5 to 3.0;
- Web self-service improved from 1.9 to 2.4;
- Cross-channel customer experience improved significantly from 0.9 to 1.9;
- Cross-agent (phone) consistency dropped slightly from an average of score of 2.0 to 1.9.
According to Anand Subramaniam, vice president of marketing for eGain, "Despite these improvements, channel silos still remain in terms of knowledge, policy, and process for many retailers. Those that break down these silos will be better positioned to grow revenue, improve margins, and lead the market."