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ERNAN ROMAN DIRECT MARKETING
ERNAN ROMAN DIRECT MARKETING
December 18, 2017
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Customer Relationship Marketing

Customer Service Call Center Research

Customer Service Call Center Research

Objective:
The objective of this customer relationship marketing (CRM) research was to quantify how customers' attitudes toward companies are influenced by their experiences with Customer Service Call Centers.

Sample:
The sample of 360 respondents was comprised of 195 business professionals and 165 college students. The 2005 baseline research was comprised of 303 business professionals.

Key Findings:
  1. Companies are not offering the quality of Customer Service Call Center support expected by customers.
    1. Two-thirds (66.0%) of professionals and almost two-thirds (62.3%) of college students rated their recent Customer Service Call Center experience as negative or neutral. This represents an increase of 3 percentage points versus the results of our study with professionals conducted in 2005.
    2. When describing their experiences, "frustrating", "exasperating", and "wasted time" were phrases often used.
    3. While companies in almost every segment were cited as examples of negative Customer Service Call Center experiences, some segments were more often cited:
      1. Cellular service / phone equipment / long-distance companies
      2. Computer hardware / software companies
      3. Online and offline retail companies
      4. Financial services companies
      5. Cable / internet providers.
  2. Customer Service Call Center experiences directly impact the customers' relationship with the companies they do business with. The repercussions from negative experiences have jumped since 2005.
    1. Professionals state that poor Customer Service Call Center experiences negatively affect their:
      1. Willingness to buy from that company: 86.3% versus 72% in 2005.
      2. Perception of that company: 98.9%, versus 83% in 2005.
      3. Likelihood to recommend the company to others: 91.5% versus 77% in 2005.
    2. College students also feel that poor Customer Service Call Center experiences negatively affect their:
      1. Willingness to buy from that company: 93.5%.
      2. Perception of that company: 96.8%.
      3. Likelihood to recommend the company to others: 95.5%.
    3. When customers have poor Customer Service Call Center experiences, they translate that service into the company telling them:
      1. "Almost forced to use them and they know it."
      2. "Don't really care about delivering good customer service."
      3. "It costs too much money to provide you a live person to talk to."
      4. "If we do let you talk to a live person, it's their job to get you off the phone, quickly."
    4. In many cases, customers describe experiences that cause them to discontinue their relationship with the company:
      1. "I have sued them twice."
      2. "I will change where I do business."
      3. "I cancelled the service."
      4. "I am working with my company to enlist a new insurance company for next year."
      5. "I will never in this lifetime, buy anything from this company."
      Therefore, negative Customer Service Call Center experiences are likely to:
      1. Erode a company's brand image.
      2. Halt positive word of mouth advertising.
      3. Discourage repeat purchasing from existing customers.
      4. Increase the likelihood of trying a competitor.
    5. The good news: Good Customer Service Call Center experiences positively affect customers' attitude toward the company. However, the magnitude of positive influence declined since 2005 for some indicators: For professionals:
      1. Willingness to buy from that company: 80.3%. Decreased by 9.7% from 90% in 2005.
      2. Perception of that company: 93.8%. Increased by 1.8% from 92% in 2005.
      3. Likelihood to recommend the company to others: 80.8%. Decreased by 7.2% from 88% in 2005.
      For students:
      1. Willingness to buy from that company: 91.1%.
      2. Perception of that company: 93.1%.
      3. Likelihood to recommend the company to others: 88.5%.

      Offering good Customer Service Call Center service can make a company stand out from its competitors. As pointed out by one customer:

      "Experience with good ones [Customer Service Call Centers] makes me really impatient when I reach the bad ones. Good competitors put bad companies out of business."
    6. One astute customer described the opportunity companies have to build a stronger relationship with their customers by "saving the day."
      "I find that Customer Care representatives view their job as simply taking nagging phone calls. Really, their job means so much more than that to the caller. The Customer Care rep is there to really provide a solution, or be the 'Saver of the Day' for the problem or question the caller is contacting them about."
    7. It is alarming that when comparing the data from 2005 with 2007, the influence of positive Call Center experience has declined...presumably due to so many negative experiences.
  • Poor Reactions to Outsourcing either overseas or in the U.S.
Another important finding is that a company's customer relationship marketing image is adversely affected when Call Centers are outsourced, either in the U.S. or offshore.

Most callers report a negative to neutral impact when the call center is:

  • Located offshore: 77.8% of professionals and 97.4% of students
  • Outsourced in the U.S.: 78.8% of professionals and 98.7% of students.

In-house Call Centers do not perform significantly better than outsourced ones. In-house Call Centers are no longer particularly satisfying to customers.

Only 50.4% of professionals and 39.4% of students preferred In-House Call Centers, while in 2005, 63% of professionals preferred In-house Call Centers and 35% associated with no influence on company image.

  • Customers have clear ideas of what makes for a good call Customer Service Call Center experience.
  1. More than 60% want:
  1. An easy menu with minimum clutter to reach an appropriate representative: 63.1% of professionals and 70.9% of students.
  2. A rep who understands their needs: 65.1% of professionals and 64.8% of students.
  3. A rep that speaks clearly and is easy to understand: 62.6% of professionals and 67.3% of students.
  • 67% of professionals and 68.5% of students want their issue handled in a single call.
  • When asked what additional criteria they use to judge a good Customer Service Call Center experience, four primary areas were identified:
  1. Timing, Customers do not want long hold times. Customers want their problems solved quickly.
  2. Expectations of a representative. Customers expect reps to be polite, knowledgeable and empowered to take care of their problem.
  3. Ability to reach a live person. Many customers want the ability to bypass menus to immediately reach a live person.
  4. Electronic information access for all representatives. Customers expect that every rep they talk to should have access to customer records, minimizing the need to repeat basic information multiple times.

To express your opinions and your experiences with Customer Care Call Centers, please click on "Customer Care Call Center Survey." Customer Care Call Center Survey We welcome your feedback!

7-Point Customer Service Bill Of Rights

Contact Us. for a complimentary consultation to discuss your needs and how Customer Relationship Marketing may satisfy them.

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