Multichannel Service Improves–or Does It?

A study from e-Gain Communications, a Mountain View, CA-based supplier of customer service and contact center software, reveals both good news and bad news regarding the state of multichannel customer service. The study of contact center managers and executives, conducted from November to January, found that while most companies understand that customers are contacting them in multiple channels, few have much of a plan for integrating service across channels.

First the good news: Nearly 64% of respondents said they have deployed an integrated case management system that handles incoming queries regardless of the channel through which they come. What’s more, survey respondents reported being responsible for a number of channel options, including phone (84%), e-mail (82%), Web self-service (56%), fax and mail (51%), chat (33%), cobrowsing (25%), and instant messaging (25%).

Though respondents said that they still used traditional contact center metrics such as first-call resolution and average handle times — with 25% and 24%, respectively, citing each as a leading metric — companies are starting to think more about qualitative metrics as well. More than three-quarters (76%) of respondents cited customer satisfaction among the top three metrics against which their job performance is measured, while 38% named service-level compliance as a leading metric, and 37% cited customer experience.

Now the bad news: Only 26% of the respondents had a single view of all customer interactions. In addition, 44% admitted that they had not established service levels for every customer communication channel their company offered. And 29% reported no channel integration whatsoever — hardly the way to deliver superior customer experience.

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