By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO
Today Creative Virtual released the results of our 2015 Global Customer Support Outlook Survey. This survey is a follow-up to the one we conducted in 2013 and solicited input from customer experience professionals via an online questionnaire fielded between April and May of this year. Not surprisingly, a majority of participants from around the world said that improving their overall customer experience is extremely important to them this year, with many of them also placing great importance on resolving customer inquiries faster and improving customer engagement.
It’s certainly no secret that today’s customers are placing a growing significance on their experiences with brands when making purchasing decisions, and the customer service and support your organisation offers plays a major role in the overall experience. Engaging with customers now requires companies to go beyond traditional contact channels to develop a strategy that embraces newer channels such as mobile and social media. When asked about utilising mobile as a customer service channel, 72% of survey participants from EMEA and 54% from the Americas report currently using this channel. In EMEA, SMS, social media and mobile apps are the top three ways organisations are leveraging mobile customer service while social media, mobile apps and live chat take the top three spots in the Americas (see chart below).
As these additional contact channels gain popularity with customers seeking support and information, providing a seamless, consistent omnichannel experience is becoming an imperative for organisations. This raises new challenges for companies when it comes to creating, managing and delivering content to customers. Our survey reveals that creating and maintaining consistent content in one system across the organisation is the main knowledge management challenge for both EMEA (62%) and the Americas (53%). This speaks to the fact that a true omnichannel experience is driving brands to search out powerful knowledge management tools in order to break down the departmental and information silos which prevent efficient, accurate delivery of information across customer contact channels. Having the proper platform in place will also help organisations overcome the second most common challenge of cost savings and productivity improvement across the department cited by 53% of survey respondents in EMEA and 52% in the Americas (see chart below).
Our survey also delves into barriers to customer experience programme development (lack of budget ranks high!) and inquiry volumes by contact channel, as well as the usage and contact deflection rates of virtual assistant technology. The results give an eye-opening inside look into how customer experience professionals view the current customer support landscape and plan to make improvements to their strategies and tools this year.
To see the full results, download your complimentary copy of the 2015 Global Customer Support Outlook Survey report here.