Friday, August 04, 2006

Consumers Demand Better Customer Service

Taken from CallCenterCafe.com

ARA) - If you receive bad customer service from a company on the telephone, through e-mail or a Web site, you are likely to take your business elsewhere next time, a recent study shows.

Research co-sponsored by Kelly Services and Purdue University’s Center for Customer-Driven Quality shows that an overwhelming majority of consumers formulate their perceptions of a company, and their decision to buy from them again, based on their experiences with the company’s customer service contact center.

In the survey, 92 percent of consumers reported that their encounter with customer service personnel influenced their image of the company they had called. Just as advertising impacts a company’s brand image, call centers play an important role in a company’s identity.

“In today’s highly competitive marketplace, matters handled properly through a company’s call center can help ensure customer loyalty,” says Benae Smart, manager of KellyConnect, the Kelly Services unit that provides trained staff to customer service centers. “Having company representatives trained to ensure a positive customer service experience is crucial to maintaining a strong brand image and keeping customers coming back.”

Call centers today are a vital link in connecting businesses to consumers. Americans reach out for assistance to customer service centers more than 10 billion times a year. The typical caller is between 26 and 55 years old and usually educated, with more than half having at least a four-year college degree.

Consumers use the telephone for 85 percent of contacts; 8 percent are made through e-mail and 7 percent through a Web site. The most frequent reasons for contacting a call center are to seek information about a product or assistance with a company’s services.

It’s your call

The Kelly-Purdue study reveals that 63 percent of consumers will stop using a company’s products or services based on a negative call center experience. Among those calling to express dissatisfaction with a product or service, 86 percent were more likely to stop using the company if their experience with the customer representative was negative.

Conversely, a mere 16 percent of consumers report that a call center had exceeded their expectations. Of those satisfied consumers, 95 percent will use the company again. This demonstrates that when customers do receive outstanding service they become more loyal, and are therefore more likely to re-purchase from the company.

“For the average consumer, dealing with a less-than-great call center can be a dreaded experience,” says Dr. Jon Anton, director of Benchmark Research at Purdue University’s Center for Customer-Driven Quality. “The research shows that a call center is often the only point of contact for a customer with a company and is now, more than ever, a strategic differentiator.”

For more information on the Kelly/Purdue research, visit www.kellyconnect.com.

Courtesy of ARA Content


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Courtesy of ARA Content

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