multi-channelTruly listening to the customer is paramount. The ability to do so will help deliver the best customer experience, which is critical in today’s competitive environment. This is not always easy in a world where customers interact with companies through a variety of channels – be it voice, text, email, or web.

Reviewing the Convergys 2011 UK Customer Scorecard, I was struck by the clear opportunity companies have to shape the customer experience in an evolving, multichannel world. Below are 5 key points from the research:

1.    Listen to your customers. 75% of customers say that in the past year the quality of customer service provided by companies has stayed the same or gotten worse. There is a clear disconnect here as 50% of employees at the contact centre think service has improved.

2.    Be proactive versus reactive. Use proactive communications to let the customer know something important first, giving them the option to connect to an agent.  100% of customers said it is appropriate for a company they do business with to proactively contact them.

3.    Today’s customers want to be heard. 66% of customers are taking the initiative to contact a company after a bad experience, effectively seeking a resolution before they decide whether or not to take their business elsewhere.  They are taking the time to reach out to you, and they expect and warrant responses in return.

4.    Listen via all of your contact channels. Over half of customers surveyed reported their bad experiences last year, and although the majority (71%) are contacting live agents on the phone or in-person, 23% are using email and text messaging. Customers using online feedback forms also expect a response as much as those who call, and they are just as likely to defect if they don’t get a response or resolution to their issues. 20% of the customers who reported their bad experiences said they did not receive a response from the company, which ultimately led to over 50% of them deciding to take their business elsewhere.

5.    Aggressively promote the fact that you want feedback. You want to know when you get it wrong. Thus, make it easy for customers to contact you and provide them with immediate access to empowered and empathetic agents. 41% of customers who did not bother to report their bad experiences (A third defected without saying a word) said they did not bother because there was no convenient way to report it to the offending company.

Companies have a clear opportunity to improve customer experience in a multichannel world, underscoring the need to take action in 2012.

To learn more read our white paper, Preserve Customer Experience Loyalty in a Multisourced Cloud Contact Center