Customer frustration at 'all-time high'

Summary:Pressure on contact centers in Asia to raise service quality with onshoring and region's maturing social media usage, say Genesys executives, who add technology can make customer service worse if not implemented correctly.

The level of customer frustration currently is at an unprecedented high as many companies fail to correctly implement technology to handle customer engagement.

Citing industry studies, Tom Eggemeier, executive vice president of global sales at Genesys, noted that 60 percent to 90 percent of messages sent via social media such as tweets or Facebook messages did not get responses from companies. "We see customer frustration at an all-time high," he said.

Eggemeier added that this has been exacerbated by the growing role of social media platforms, which have made it easier for unhappy customers to broadcast bad service.

Bruce Eidsvik, managing director of Asia-Pacific at Genesys, said a key factor for companies to improve customer service lies in leveraging mobile devices. With its high adoption, mobility is "the next frontier" of delivering customer service and can be a great tool to "link the chains together and save the world from bad service", he said.


The customer service and contact center
software provider was acquired by
Permira Funds and TCV for US$1.5 billion,
from Alcatel-Lucent on Feb. 1 2012.

Eggemeier explained: "Say, I am on an insurance company's mobile app. So I fill up the form, I go all the way, then I call the agent, right now, and they would say, 'Tom, could you give me your password, your mother's maiden name and so on'. We think that with mobility, all this information that you've already given should be accessible to the contact center."

However, if implemented wrongly, IT can lead to poorer customer service.

Eggemeier said: "People see technology now as a barrier in customer service. For instance, I hate it when I call a customer hotline and get an Interactive Voice Response System, or if I have to through a lot of steps--such as pressing 0 and #--to talk to the operator.

"IT tools available today can be a great enabler for customer service, and I think that's one of the promises of social media," he said.

Commenting on customer service in the Asia-Pacific region, Eidsvik noted that social media use within contact centers here was maturing and the ability to integrate such platforms presented a great opportunity for contact centers.

Eggemeier added that Asia, on a whole, is younger and has more IT-savvy consumers who, compared to other regions, are able to better understand technologies such as social media and mobility.

And as more companies in this region turn to onshoring contact center functions, he said this would drive the need to improve the skills level of call agents.

"The reason for the growing onshoring trend is that people today are not worried about achieving the lowest cost solution, instead, they're worried about quality," he explained. "We recently talked to a customer who, in the past, was really focused on how quickly it could get a customer off the phone. That was its key metric--average call length time. But they found out that the average customer might be calling five times for a minute each.

"So I think contact centers are starting to be a little bit more sophisticated right now, and not using such crude metrics. They're really looking at how they can make customers delighted," he said.

Topics: Networking, Apps, CXO, Enterprise Software, Mobility, Software

About

Loves caption contests, leisurely strolls along supermarket aisles and watching How It's Made. Ryan has covered finance, politics, tech and sports for TV, radio and print. He is also co-author of best seller "Profit from the Panic". Ryan is an editor at ZDNet's Asia/Singapore office.

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