Monday, 11 April 2011

Customers Still Want to Talk Even with the Growth of Self-Service Culture

It wouldn’t be unreasonable to believe that in this “connected” world, with the internet available nearly everywhere that the phone call and particularly the phone call to contact centres would no longer be a necessity.

According to new research from BT and Avaya however, this is simply not the case. Whilst the use of smartphones has been growing at pace throughout the UK, opening up the opportunity to use self-service websites, this has not had a significant negative effect upon the use of contact centres for customer enquiries and support.

The report states that the vast majority (90%) of smartphone users are expecting to use contact centres in the future, despite having the internet available to them practically constantly. The research also points out that contact centre communications were particularly utilised when enquiries were of a technical or complicated nature.

Head of BT Global Services Andrew Small said that “calling the contact centre is the favoured way to resolve the most complicated queries.” Mr Small also highlighted that users were still using the internet in the enquiry process, but argued that typically consumers now research before calling; meaning that once the call is made they already have a basic knowledge of the issue and expect the advice at the other end of the phone to be capable over and above what they have learnt themselves.

This demonstrates the importance in the modern contact centre climate to have staff members that are effectively trained and knowledgeable, so that they can resolve issues confidently and correctly. It also highlights the current importance of understanding multiple, integrated communication channels such a telephone, email and direct messaging when dealing with customer enquiries.

These two important aspects of modern day call centre operation, effective training and multiple communication channels, demand that outsourced customer communication services are now a seamless extension of a brand and company, showing not only technical knowledge but a professional approach to customer handling and insight.