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Contact Centers Key to Keeping Loyal Customers, Avaya Research Shows

11-02-2007
  • More than 1/3 Consumers Prefer to Use technology to Interact with Companies

According to a study commissioned by Avaya, Australian consumers are more likely to buy products and services from companies if their contact center staff are friendly, responsive and knowledgeable. 

SYDNEY, Australia - Australian consumers are more likely to buy products and services from companies if their contact centre staff are friendly, quick to resolve questions, and know the details of the products and services they were representing. 

 

Conducted by research company callcentres.net and commissioned by communications software provider Avaya, the consumer index concluded that 58% said they had a good experience, but that there is an opportunity for Australian contact centers to improve the service they offer to consumers, who are sometimes frustrated with long waiting times, problems with getting the information they want, and being transferred to other operators.

 

There is also a growing preference for Australian consumers to interact with companies via the internet and self-service channels, compared to traditional voice channels. This new direction is strongly driven by Generation Y consumers (16-30 year olds) who have a higher preference for interacting with companies using self-service technologies, than the older Generation X, Baby Boomers or Silent Generations.*

 

Key findings of the Index indicate that although 56% of the Australian consumers surveyed would prefer to call and talk with a customer service representative, almost half (41%) stated their first preference was to use a self-service channel, constituting 28% of consumers who prefer to use an internet channel (web, email, webchat); 6% prefer to use IVR (touch tone automated system), 5% prefer speech recognition and 2% prefer to interact using SMS. Only 6% of consumers nominated visiting a branch or store as their preferred method of interaction, thus confirming the growing strategic importance of contact centers as the primary channel to market.

 

The Index is the first of its kind in the Australian market, as it captures the views of customers who have experienced the highs and lows of dealing with contact centers. The survey found that only 11% of people said they liked interacting with contact centers when seeking information from a company and 32% said that dealing with contact centers is always problematic. 

 

While 62% of respondents would prefer to deal with a person, either on the phone or face-to-face, 38% rate technology over people and prefer to use the internet, email, web chat or an automated phone system.

 

"The contact center is one of the main communications channels for many companies, and customers' experiences with front-line staff can have an important impact on the reputation of the company," said Avaya South Pacific Managing Director, Carlton Taya. "The contact center can be a strategic weapon for businesses who are seeking to maintain and improve customer loyalty. It’s imperative they offer responsive services and positive experiences as it can have a direct impact on a company's revenue."

 

"The coming of age of the Generation Y consumer, and their strong influence on their moneyed Baby Boomer parents, is something the Australian contact center industry is now thinking about," stated Dr Catriona Wallace, Managing Director of callcentres.net. "There has never been a more tech-savvy and market-savvy generation. Those companies who are gearing up their channels to meet the perse needs of the different generations will gain a competitive advantage."

 

Companies need to be more attuned to the needs of different generations, and should seek to offer a range of communications methods to meet the demands of all of their customers, said Taya. Those communications channels can include the Internet, voice recognitions tools, SMS, and other self-service technologies, but should not overshadow the importance of well-trained, professional staff.

 

Taya said it was important that companies continued to provide the best technology to contact center operators to allow them to offer efficient service levels, including having the right information at their fingertips.

 

He also said it was important for companies to train their contact center operators in the use of new software tools that make it easier for them to provide relevant information quickly to their customers. The Index, conducted in October, was part of an Asia-Pacific survey of consumers. 

 

Further details on the survey are available on request.

 

About Avaya
Avaya delivers Intelligent Communications solutions that help companies transform their businesses to achieve marketplace advantage. More than 1 million businesses worldwide, including more than 90 percent of the FORTUNE 500®, use Avaya solutions for IP Telephony, Unified Communications, Contact Centers and Communications-Enabled Business Processes. Avaya Global Services provides comprehensive service and support for companies, small to large. For more information visit the Avaya Web site: http://www.avaya.com.
 

About callcentres.net
Established in 1999 and based in Sydney with a regional office in Singapore, callcentres.net is the central portal for the Asia Pacific contact center industry providing research, benchmarking studies and up-to-date news and information. callcentres.net is recognized as the leading Analyst organisation for the Asia Pacific contact center industry. www.callcentres.net

* Definitions of Generations

Generation Y = born 1977-1991 (16-30 years old)
Generation X = born 1962-1976 (31-45 years old)
Baby Boomers = born 1946-1961 (46-61 years old)
Silent Generation = born 1925-1945 (62-82 years old)
(also known as True Believers)

 

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