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Survey Finds New Zealand Consumers Satisfied with Contact Centre Service but Highlights Room for Improvement

12-02-2008

Over half of New Zealand consumers are highly satisfied with their most recent calls to contact centres, according to this year's Avaya Contact Centre Consumer Index.

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Over half of New Zealand consumers are highly satisfied with their most recent calls to contact centres, according to this year's Avaya Contact Centre Consumer Index.

 

Conducted by callcentres.net and commissioned by Avaya, the New Zealand report is part of an annual Asia-Pacific study of consumer experience with contact centres. Of the 309 consumers surveyed 54 per cent said they were 'satisfied to extremely satisfied,' representing a significant rise of 9 per cent over 2007's figure of 45 per cent.

 

"Competition to acquire and keep consumers is a fierce business, no matter what industry, and organisations must appreciate the impact that every contact made has on customer loyalty," said Steve Vials, Director, Solutions Marketing, APAC Avaya. "For any consumer, at any time, a company is only as good as the last call. Maintaining consistency, listening to feedback and utilising the right IT tools in the contact centre are vital elements of providing a smooth and satisfying customer experience."

 

Of those surveyed that had stated they were dissatisfied with the last call they made to a contact centre, almost half (47%) said they have moved their business to another company, or are likely to within the next 12 months.

 

Mr. Vials emphasised, "this is sharp reminder to companies that customer service is critically linked to customer loyalty."

 

Interestingly, 54 per cent said they would give more business to an organisation whose contact centre is open 24-hours, seven-days-a-week. Phone contact remains by far the most frequent method of contact – 67 per cent of contact is via telephone, 18 per cent via the internet, 7 per cent in-store or branch and 7 per cent via email. 

 

However, fewer than this, 53 per cent of respondents said they would prefer to make contact by phone, 23 per cent preferred the Internet, 11 per cent visiting a store or branch and 11 per cent by email. This suggests a shift in focus towards a more multichannel oriented strategy would meet the developing needs of the New Zealand consumer better.

 

"Companies must seek to offer a range of communications methods - the Internet, voice recognitions tools, SMS, and other self-service technologies but these advancements must go hand-in-hand with well-trained, professional staff for a customer service strategy to be successful," said Mr. Vials.

 

According to Dr. Catriona Wallace, Managing Director of callcentres.net, "The New Zealand contact centre industry must think about emerging trends such as the prevalence of the tech-savvy Generation Y consumer and the impact they have on the organisation's approach to customer service. The market is getting more and more comfortable with technology and those companies who focus on a  multichannel strategy to meet the varying needs of the changing generations will be more competitive and see the results directly, and rapidly, on their bottom line."

 

The key consumer behaviour drivers include having a query resolved on the first call, the level of empathy of the customer service representative and the level of knowledge of the customer service representative.

 

Whilst a little more relaxed than their Australian neighbours, New Zealand consumers do not like dealing with customer service agents based overseas – 69 per cent said they would not be happy to talk to a representative that is based in a foreign country, compared to 73 per cent in Australia.

 

However 61 per cent said they would be happy to talk to an agent they knew was working from home, again a little more relaxed than Australians at 57%. This suggests a strong case for contact centre operators to examine closely an off-shoring strategy vs the benefits of employing home-based agents.

 

"An extremely competitive landscape and tougher economic times sees the contact centre as a strategic tool to retaining customers and maintaining productive long term relationships, if utilised correctly. While technology can offer a great deal of benefits, it must form part of a superior customer service focus including well trained agents," added Mr. Vials. "Today's contact centres must aim to improve every customer experience with a coordinated approach to staff training, better use of resources and technology."

 

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 Centres 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 centre industry providing research, benchmarking studies and up-to-date news and information. callcentres.net is recognised as the leading Analyst organisation for the Asia Pacific contact centre industry. www.callcentres.net.

 

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