At least when it comes to resolution via a company website.
That is just one of the findings in research conducted by Ovum Research,a leading global technology research and advisory firm, in collaboration with LogMeIn during November and December, 2014. The study looked at what today’s customer expects as far as customer service expectations and compared this to what companies are doing and believe they need to do to provide excellent customer service across a wide variety of channels.
You can download the study findings, as there are quite a few interesting key points, especially regarding discrepancies in what customers need and expect to what companies believe is happening.
One startling fact: the findings show that 61% of customers who responded turn to a company’s website to find the needed information before calling, emailing, or using live chat “always” or “most of the time”; however, only 9% of managers believe that this is done at that frequency.
That’s a huge discrepancy.
There are a few things that could be coming into play here:
- The types of customer contact received may seem “simplistic” or something that customers could find on their own from the company website, so there is the perception that customers are not doing this.
- Managers are unaware of the company’s website content and feel that some of the inquiries/issues should be able to be resolved from reviewing the company website.
- There is not a good system in place to track website activity and tie it to customer contact, so they don’t know how many customers try to resolve issues from site research
- If feedback surveys are used, customers are perhaps only focusing on the resolution process, and not sharing that they had to contact the company because they could not find the information online AND when contacting the company, they are not readily sharing that they tried to find a resolution on the website before calling.
Why are company contact rates doubling and respondents stating that it is more difficult than before to reach a company representative and get resolution if more than half try to find what they need on the company website?
The study found that while such a significant number of respondents DID try to resolve their issues from looking at the company website, very few found what they needed, and even fewer were able to get their issues resolved on social media:
It looks like there are a few things companies can do to make life easier for customers and call center staff:
1. Review website content – perhaps companies have been so focused on ensuring their site is mobile friendly and implementing mobile friendly features such as online ordering and live chat, yet the content has not been fully reviewed. Based on this study, content is sorely lacking and could be resulting in increased company contact.
What to do: use call center data to find trends. Is there a pattern of frequently asked questions or complaints? If so, is the necessary information readily available and easy to find on your website? It might be time to update the website to incorporate frequently asked questions or answers to the most common questions asked of your representatives. This will not, of course, alleviate all calls, but it could reduce the volume of contacts received.
2. Talk to your customers – if there is no concrete tracking system to find out how many are trying to self-serve from your website before contacting the company, it’s important to find out if this is in fact an issue with your company. There may be key aspects of your website that are not consumer friendly, or missing key information that would go a long way in self-service resolution.
What to do: if you are not getting feedback from your customers, now is a good time to start. Be sure to include questions such as “did you try to find the information you needed on our website prior to contacting us?” or even “how can we improve our website to make it better for you?” You may be surprised at what you find, and often times customers make some great suggestions!
If you cannot incorporate formal customer feedback, include this in your contact resolution process. Have staff ask if the customer had tried to find the needed information on the website prior to calling. This can be tricky because you don’t want a customer to feel as though the representative doesn’t want to help them and is insinuating that they should have gone to the website first. It’s a fine line, but if done right, it can give some insight.
3. Include user testing – if you are finding that customers cannot get the information they need from your website, but as a company you believe this information is easily found, it’s time to do some formal, objective website testing.
What to do: use a third party, objective vendor to test for website usability. Provide several common scenarios, such as needing to understand the return policy and how to return online purchases for example, and have testers provide their insight into how they went about trying to find the information, how easy it was from their perspective, and if they were able to find the right information without contacting the company. These reports can be invaluable in seeing your site from an outside perspective and help you make improvements as needed.
Thanks to technology, this can go one step further; several mystery shopping providers or third party testers allow for testers to record their online movements as they navigate your site, giving you that birds eye view that you cannot get anywhere else.
From reading the study, it is apparent that there is still frustration among customers with regard to company contacts and there are ways that companies can make improvements to speed responses and streamline customer service issues. Some of the tips above can make it easier, but since social media, live chat, and mobile channels are still relatively new, I anticipate that this will improve over time.