Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Process versus Relationship

Experian Integrated Marketing surveyed 1,000 consumers in the UK about their help desk/call center experience. I think their findings are consistent with what we might expect in the US. One summary comment from the research indicates that brands are making it too complex for customers to deal with them BECAUSE OF TECHNOLOGY. The following statistics seem to support their summary comment:

1. 78% of the respondents believe brands place too much emphasis on technology at the expense of customer service.
2. 70% of the respondents find the technology inflexible.
3. 67% of the respondents admit to having suffered telephone or Web customer service problems in the past year; yet, 89% still instinctively reach for the phone.
4. Only 7% of the respondents believe that technology delivers what they expect as part of good customer service.
5. 59% of the respondents believe technology should be able to synchronise all customer information across various parts of the business (this technology is available now).
6. 60% of the respondents want a seemless process of communication (this technology is also available now).
7. 37% of the respondents believe that technology will not answer their needs for at least five years.

One other interesting point is that the telephone is still the predominant mode for contact that was noted in this survey. It is used about 6 times as often as online or email. This ratio of phone use to online and email contact may not be consistent within the US market.

One conclusion I can make after reviewing these results is that customers want the personal touch more than they want technology. However, another conclusion is that customers see that technology may ultimately help them.

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