Contact Centre volumes declining

Searching the internet impacting call centre volumes

Contact Centre volumes declining thanks to rises in internet searches

According to a recent survey by Ovum, contact centre managers are clueless when it comes to understanding how many customers are searching the internet before attempting to ring the contact centre.

The survey, which was conducted across a web and telephony survey of 315 contact centre managers and 400 customers, revealed a ton of interesting statistics:

  • Call Centre managers tended to be “largely unaware of the number of customers searching the internet for resolutions prior to and during calls with agents,” and “only half the managers track customer web usage related to service issues.”
  • The managers lacked any real understanding of the extent of customer interactions via the various touchpoints now available to them. Managers believe issues are resolved within one and two attempts while 62 per cent of customers report using more than five touchpoints to get a problem resolved.
  • Contact centre managers were asked to name their top customer support priorities for the next two years. Twenty-eight per cent listed “Expanding channel choices for customers” as the number one priority. Right at the bottom, rated top priority by a mere seven per cent of respondents was “Deploying/using analytics”
  • Forty-eight per cent of customers surveyed said they believed that their ability to reach the right representative had worsened over the last two years.
  • Seventy-six per cent claimed to have stopped doing business with a brand following a bad customer service experience.
  • Mobile, web self-service and chat were found to be rapidly growing channels for customer support. “Over the last two years in Australia and New Zealand, the number of customers using a mobile phone for support calls more than doubled to 47 percent, the use of mobile apps has increased six times to 13 per cent from two per cent, and the number of customers using live chat has more than doubled to 26 per cent.”
  • “Seventy-two per cent of customers are now searching the internet for answers online before calling a contact centre,” Ovum said. “This has increased from 61 per cent who said they used the web before calling a contact centre two years ago.

The impact of more customers searching the internet

The consequence of this, of course, is that “more and more customers are able to self-serve by searching, and finding, answers on the internet.

So when (or if) they do end up in the call centre, it’s because they have failed to find the appropriate answer or resolution.

This means call centre agents will be handling increasingly complex calls and will have to reach deeper into databases and other information sources to satisfy customer needs.”

Already we can see this having an impact.

Across the industry, AHT is increasing due to the longer talk times and the Knowledge Management business is booming.

And searching the internet for answers is not a trend that is about to die down.

For 78 per cent of users in the Ovum survey, the call centre was the last resort: if they knew they could get a resolution of an issue on their first attempt they would use some other avenue of interaction.

If call centre managers don’t deal with these issues they will likely find themselves with fewer agents to manage and perhaps, rather, a whole bunch of robots.

Recommended further reading: The future of Customer Service: 9 Key Predictions

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