Customer service has earned its place at the heart of customer experience, for support interactions can often make or break the longevity of the customer relationship. However, for many of today's most popular brands, the inability to sustain consistency across channels may inevitably trigger the breakdown between customer loyalty and overall satisfaction.
CX Act's recent "Customer Touchpoint Stress Test" report, explores how even leading companies often fail to handle and resolve consumer inquiries in an adequate manner. Conducted by Social Lens Research, the study examined 50 major brands-from airlines and financial institutions to insurance providers and supermarkets-for customer service satisfaction across multiple channels: phone, email, online chat, and Facebook. Customers were asked to evaluate the service offered for simple inquiries, such as billing and product issues, in order to assess each company's service delivery, determine customer satisfaction levels, and identify opportunities for improvement.
The following statistics emphasize what these popular brands are lacking when it comes to customer service, highlighting the areas that, once developed, will positively impact both ROI and the bottom line:
- While phone outperformed all other channels on issue resolution (86 percent), only 58 percent were satisfied with the service provided.
- Chat (40 percent), email (22 percent), and Facebook (17 percent) satisfaction scores reflect the average brand's inability to sustain consistent customer experiences across channels.
- For the 20 companies that offered live chat options, service was rated low, as one in three customers failed to reach their resolution. Successful chat interactions, however, saw the fastest resolution time across all channels at 9 minutes per session.
- Only 44 percent of email and 27 percent of Facebook service inquiries were resolved. Email (744 minutes) and Facebook (196 minutes) average response times also failed to impress.
- Of the 52 percent of testers who found customer care information very easy to find on company websites, only 24 percent claimed the information was extremely helpful.
- Customers who came away from positive experiences claimed their likelihood to purchase across channels ranged from 88-100 percent, while those who had negative service experiences declared that their likelihood to buy ranged from 0-12 percent.
Key takeaway: Because consumers are increasingly converting to digital, brands must work to develop customer service consistency across channels in order to retain and satisfy. No matter the given brand's service success, all companies have the opportunity to improve their current offerings by focusing on key elements within each channel. As the report highlights, those looking to boost phone support should empower their employees with the skills and abilities necessary to satisfy and engage. Live chat operators should keep all interactions positive, focusing on what they can do for the customer while infusing the conversation with an engaging personality. When conducting service via email or online form, companies must implement an automatic response system that notifies customers that their request was received, while outlining what they can expect to eliminate confusion. For Facebook customer service requests, brands must monitor their page constantly in order to respond to timely posts quickly and appropriately. Ultimately, successful customer service comes down to providing support that aligns with the channel's nature, while still maintaining the brand's vibe no matter the touchpoint.