Consumers Call For Smarter Contact Centres
BT and Avaya research finds 70 percent of UK and US consumers think they often
know more than the contact center agent dealing with their inquiry
IRVING, Texas, March 4, 2013
IRVING, Texas, March 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Seventy percent of consumers
believe they often know more about the products and services they're enquiring
about than the contact center agent dealing with their call. That's according
to new research from BT and Avaya which found that 80 percent of people
thought agents struggled to answer their questions and 85 percent believed
they'd been put on hold because agents didn't know what to say.
The failure of service identified by the research presents a significant risk
to organizations as 78 percent of consumers say that they only buy from
businesses that make it easy for them to deal with and a third believe
convenience is more important than price.Additionally, almost half believe
customer loyalty is a thing of the past.
The survey, which polled 1,000 consumers in the US and UK, discovered an
increased use of smartphone apps, video and webchat in dealings with
organizations. Video conferencing seems to be finally taking off, with usage
up 100 percent since similar research was carried out in 2010. Some 13 percent
of the people surveyed use video conferencing at home every week — double the
number from 2010 — and 55 percent would like to use video chat to have their
questions answered by contact center agents. Webchat is also growing fast,
with 26 percent of people using it to communicate with organizations, up by 36
percent compared with 2010.
But the phone remains the most popular customer service channel with 77
percent of people having called an organization in the six months prior to the
survey. Indeed, 54 percent had used the phone to call an organization in the
month leading up to the survey compared with 56 percent for the same period in
2010 — indicating that the phone is holding its own despite the growth of
alternative contact channels. Over 90 percent (91 percent) of consumers want
organizations to display phone numbers clearly on all channels and 89 percent
say that when things go wrong, there is no alternative to speaking to a real
As smartphone usage, social media and Wi-Fi coverage continue to grow, half of
consumers are constantly changing the way they contact organizations. Eighty
two percent say they need a range of channels to meet their needs. But many
are frustrated with the experience of switching channels as it exposes huge
gaps in customer service. In fact, just 17 percent think swapping between
channels is easy and gives them a seamless experience and 69 percent of
consumers say they're often asked to repeat their account details on the same
Andrew Small, vice president BT Contact, BT Global Services, said: "Consumers
are more connected and better informed than ever before, so when they do call
— or use another channel such as webchat or video — they expect to deal with
someone who knows what they're talking about.When organizations fail to
connect their customers to the right agent, it's not only frustrating for the
consumer but also for the staff involved. The solution is for organizations to
use technology to ensure their customers' calls go to the right agent first
time and to connect contact center staff using collaboration tools to create
networked experts who can share their knowledge when needed. This new BT and
Avaya research highlights not only that many organizations are failing to do
this but also the danger of poor service in a world where consumer loyalty is
a thing of the past."
Mark de la Vega, vice president and general manager, contact center
applications at Avaya, said: "The new challenge for contact center operators
is to build the infrastructure that enables consumers to seamlessly switch
between all of the channels they provide to give a truly cohesive and
satisfying customer experience. The most significant factor, regardless of
channel used, is that consumers reach the right agent equipped with the right
knowledge and tools to resolve their issues in a timely and efficient manner."
Many well-known contact center gripes remain with 54 percent of people saying
the music and messages on hold often don't provide a good impression of the
organization they're calling and 93 percent say that organizations should
phone them back when they said they would.
Notes to editors
BT has Avaya Platinum Partner status worldwide and has installed over 100,000
Avaya systems in the last two decades, including over 1,000 contact centers.
Through the BT Contact portfolio, BT and Avaya can help organizations use all
the communication channels their customers expect in the most integrated and
efficient way. Together, they take an end-to-end customer experience
management approach, leveraging the resources organizations already have
whilst bringing in new, enabling technologies to achieve best practice.
A series of blogs based on the BT and Avaya Autonomous Customer research will
be posted to: http://letstalk.globalservices.bt.com/en/ over the coming weeks.
Infographics to support the release can be found at: www.bt.com/btcontact.
About the research
Davies Hickman Partners, independent research analysts, carried out the
research on behalf of BT and Avaya. The source material was provided through
an online survey of 1,000 consumers, with 500 based in the US and 500 in the
UK. Age and sex profiles were evenly distributed across the survey to create a
representative sample of the population in both countries.
BT is one of the world's leading providers of communications services and
solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal
activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local,
national and international telecommunications services to its customers for
use at home, at work and on the move; broadband and internet products and
services and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists
principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Retail, BT
Wholesale and Openreach.
In the year ended 31 March 2012, BT Group's revenue was £18,897m with profit
before taxation of £2,445m.
British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group
plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT
Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.
For more information, visit www.btplc.com
Avaya is the worldwide leader in solutions for business collaboration and
communication. The company provides Unified Communications, Contact Centers,
Networking solutions and related services for companies of every size around
the world. For more information: www.avaya.com
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