Have you ever tried contacting customer service only to hit roadblock after roadblock? Last week my multiple attempts to contact a couple different companies did just that, as an online chat attempt with a telecom provider went unanswered and calls to a medical facility fell into voicemail. According to a new study, I'm not alone in my failed attempts to reach service in real time and also get quick answers to my inquiries or issues.
The 2015 Eptica Retail Multichannel Customer Experience Study released last week evaluated 500 U.S. retailers on their ability to provide answers to routine questions via email, the web, chat, Facebook, and Twitter. Additionally, 1,000 consumers were polled on how long they were willing to wait for responses on these channels.
The results pointed to enormous gaps in performance. In social media channels, retailers surveyed could only answer 20 percent of questions sent via Twitter and 54 percent of Facebook messages. Surprisingly 87 percent of companies advertised their Twitter handles, yet just 25 percent replied to a question sent via a tweet.
When it comes to email, retailers responded successfully to 73 percent of emails, however 58 percent of consumers would like to receive an email reply within two hours, yet the average time taken was seven hours 51 minutes.
And websites are no different. Only 65 percent of answers to routine questions could be found on company websites. Finally, an abysmal 35 percent were able to respond via chat despite 51 percent advertising it on their websites.
Customers today expect rapid response when they reach out to contact a company so customer support should match these expectations. Therefore businesses need to map the customer journey and deploy service solutions and improve service training along that path.
Companies that get it right will have a business that is both sustainable and profitable, supported by an incredibly loyal and satisfied customer base.