Thursday, March 27, 2008

Oracle Whitepaper on European Contact Centres

There's an interesting whitepaper from Oracle on European Contact Centres available for download, though you do need to register your details to get it.

It's good to see research focused specifically on the European market (as opposed to the US) as customer behaviour is significantly different. It's also a good sized survey of 1,500 consumers and 250 contact centres so I'd hope that interviews were weighted so as to be representative.

The key findings are mostly no great surprise:

· Despite almost unanimous acknowledgement of the importance of keeping customers happy, more than half of European consumers do not judge customer service operations to be effective.
· Consumers’ principle complaints include enduring long call queues, having to continually repeat their queries to different members of staff and receiving inconsistent answers.
· Contact centre managers view better quality of information and staff training as the two prime requirements for improving customer service.
· More than half of businesses have no plans to introduce a self-service portal - despite a clear preference among customers for using the internet to resolve queries.

I was interested in the last point, as voice portals, internet portals and the convergence between the two is something that I'm very interested in and am seeing a number of businesses exploring. Interestingly, the research shows that 71% of European consumers preferred the internet for interacting with a business and that email was identified as the second most popular
channel of interaction with a general preference of 60%.

The UK is probably the exception here, as I still see a preference for UK consumers to use the voice channel, but that ties in with what I've been seeing in mainland Europe. I've talked about it a bit in previous posts such as "Last week in Germany", but e-mail is a significant channel for mainland European contact centres. This is especially true as a channel for complex interactions and for initiating what will then become a multi-channel interaction. This an area where IP Convergence and Voice over IP for the contact centre is hugely important for bringing channels and communication mediums together for consistent customer service.

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