Automated systems leading to call centre frustration: Ovum

The enterprise is out of touch with its customers’ frustrations surrounding automated customer service systems, an Ovum report has found.

Report author, Daniel Hong, said while many businesses are focusing on how to cut costs in their call centre operations, the customer experience can be left behind as a result.

“There is significant customer frustration when it comes to automated self-service and voice recognition systems,” Hong said. “In fact in a recent Ovum survey, one third of respondents said they found it the most challenging aspect of customer service.”

The report said while 98 per cent of interactions in a contact centre were handled by the voice channel in 2004, this fell to 67 per cent of interactions by 2009.

Hong said businesses may not be aware that their automated systems cause frustration among their customers.

“Many businesses do not realise that their automated systems cause this level of frustration,” he said. “They are not aware of what their customers are actually experiencing because they are measuring their systems by how much money they are saving them.”

Hong’s research found that those automated services that are measured on the task completion rate (TCR) are the most successful, because they provide an insight into the customer experience.

“Businesses are under extreme pressure to improve customer retention, reduce costs and do more with less and automated customer service plays a key role,” he said. “However, getting the system right is paramount to customer loyalty and unless they have an insight into what their customers are experiencing they will not be able to address and reduce frustration.”

The report comes as the Australian Telecommunications User Group (ATUG) recently claimed that the take-up of services on the National Broadband Network (NBN) could be hindered by poor telecommunications customer service.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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