Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's time again for the Cisco/ Dimension Data Speech Survey

I thought last week that I'd get more time to blog this week. Looks like I was wrong. I'm still planning on writing this post on homeshoring, but it may be tomorrow while I'm waiting at the airport before I get the chance.

In the meantime, it's worth mentioning that it's time again for the Cisco/ Dimension Data Speech Survey. This got lots of interest last time round (see my past post: Dimension Data/ Cisco Speech survey ) and the results were widely viewed webinar on CRMxchange (still available for viewing when I checked today). The survey highlighted the difference between what vendors think and consumers think of speech automation. Vendors, for example, tend to underestimate why consumers will accept automation (such as to avoid offshore). They also overestimate things like the ability of speech automation to partially meet callers needs and underestimate its ability to meet all needs for some callers.

If you're interested in participating, please do, and you can take the survey here. Results will be made available to all those who participate.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cisco on customer interaction - homeshoring post to follow

I was going to write an analytical and thoughtful post on homeshoring. This is the emerging trend of basing contact centre agents at home, rather than at an office or sending the work overseas. This has great attractions for employers who need contact centres working split shifts or need to access labour that can't necessarily commute to an office.

Unfortunately, I haven't really had time (hence the recent gap in posting). So this great piece on homeshoring may come tomorrow or even Thursday. In the meantime, Cisco has posted up a couple of videos on customer management on their 'Techwise TV' site and they're worth a look. I know 'Techwise TV' is more noted for it's offerings on switching, routing and networks but it's good to see the focus shifting onto the customer and business.

Customer Service:
From Calls to Contacts

Each video is about 60 mins long and you need to register to see them. The one I've highlighted will be shown on July 24th and there is also a customer experience webcast from 2006 that sets out some of the basics.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Channel in Financial Services

One blog I've been reading lately is Dr. Catriona Wallace's blog (Your Call) that covers the Asia-Pacific contact centre market.

She had a good post on 24th June looking at the consumer use of channels in Australian and New Zealand banking. Her research suggests that at least for Australia and New Zealand:

"... there are distinct differences between the BFI consumers and consumers from other industry verticals. For example, there is almost equal preference for BFI consumers to use the internet as first channel of preference as their level of preference to speak to a live attendant. In all other industry verticals the primary preference is to speak to a live attendant. About 9 in 10 BFI consumers are happy to use self service technology for simple transactions and even 4 in 10 are happy to use self-service technology for complex transactions. We just don't see this level of orientation around consumer self-service in other verticals."

She also highlights how demographics like gender and age also have a big impact on how consumers choose channels when dealing with their financial services provider.

I feel it is also well worth looking at is culture when looking at consumer's choice of channel. In Europe I believe channel preference is driven as much by culture as it is by vertical or by demographics. The last very detailed research I've seen on the subject was Forrester writing in 2004, but the differences are clear.

Asked which channel consumers would use to first contact their bank for a service issue, there were huge contrasts between countries. In the UK 72% of customers would use the telephone channel as their first option compared to only 26% of Italians picking up the phone. Branch showed a similar degree of huge variation, 91% of Spanish would go to a branch as their first action but only 59% of Dutch would go. However, 15% of Dutch would e-mail their bank as their first action (remember this was in 2004, today it's probably higher).

These cultural differences highlight how different the role of the contact centre can be. What in one country is a strategic channel for voice traffic in another is a minor channel for e-mail or remote support.

The acceptance of self-service in Financial Services is also interesting. I've posted previously on the Dimension Data/ Cisco Speech survey but this has focused only on speech acceptance for English speaking countries (including Australia and New Zealand). It might be interesting to extend that and see if consumer acceptance of self-service extends to other cultures. Alternatively, it may be that a lot of people phone up to check their bank balance and their priority is to get the answer quickly rather than from a human.

The one thing that I would stress is that despite cultural differences, is that as a vertical financial services has the most complex set of consumer channel usage however the consumers choose to use those channels.