Abstracts: July 31st, 2003

A survey of Chief Executives responsible for contact centres commissioned by Cable and Wireless and carried out by Teleconomy found that 70% of respondents rated their ability to provide multi-channel customer service as either poor or average. Organisations accept that they need to improve customer service, but many persist in treating contact centre management as an operational cost rather than an integrated part of their customer relationship strategy. The survey found that organisations focus mainly on ‘operational’ performance measures, such as the time taken to handle a customer call – while consumers place the greatest value on how well their query is resolved.Although 78% of respondents said they base their contact strategy either wholly or partially on delivering good customer service, the remaining 22% said they focus wholly on minimising cost. The survey indicates that contact centres are not using the right measures to monitor their levels of customer service. Furthermore, 10% of contact centres still use no measurements at all to monitor performance. With the majority of respondents acknowledging that contact centres needed to become more sophisticated, the research also shows that there is no consensus on how to deploy developing technologies. Automated systems, which enable customer self-service, polarised opinion. While 35% of organisations believed that fully automated systems would decrease the level of customer service they provided, 49% thought that it could enhance customer service.

The survey is available from : tara.salgado@cw.com