What's wrong with customer services? Depends who you ask...

So what's the key to great customer services? And what makes the experience so abysmal you'd rather chew your own face off than pick up the phone? Research by Nuance Communications reveals the top two complaints are agents that are difficult to understand due to language barriers, and that it takes too long to speak to a live agent.

Outrageous! And true! It's.... truly outrageous! And there's no doubt whatsoever that many of you will agree with these top line findings. However, before you write to the Daily Mail in your thousands, it's worth bearing in mind that Nuance Communications are in the business of selling speech recognition software. Ahhhhh. Such a company releasing a press release criticising the two areas of customer services that its products can improve - that'd be known round these parts as "a conflict of interest". Suddenly, any credibility the survey enjoys trickles away like hot butter down your shirt.

So what did Nuance find wrong with existing customer services? Well, just about everything they have a product for, curiously. To quote:

Main complaints are about agents: The top complaint about customer service is agents that are difficult to understand due to language barriers (28%), followed by 25% complaining that it takes too long to speak to an agent.

Great service is about speed and accuracy of response: The number one element of "great" customer service is the speed and accuracy of the response, with 37% wanting a fast service, followed by 30% wanting knowledgeable staff. Consumers were less concerned about speaking to a human being, with only 6% citing the ability to speak to a live agent as an element of great service.

Automated systems are often preferred: 46% of respondents would prefer using an automated system to struggling with an agent they can't understand. 84% would be at least somewhat willing to try a new automated system if they were notified in advance of its availability.

Speech recognition systems perform better than touchtone: When given the option of touchtone technology or speech automation, respondents rate speech automation easier to use, clearer, and faster than the touchtone systems.

Customer service quality has a major impact on brand perception: The majority (82%) believe that quality of customer service is influential, very influential or extremely influential on their perception of a company. Nearly two thirds (62%) of consumers who have bad call centre experiences stop doing business with the organisation, 69% would share their experience with friends and family, and 56% would be likely to switch to another company following a bad experience.

Hmm. If only there was a company who could solve all of these problems to the satisfaction of this survey...

It doesn't mean Nuance aren't correct in their findings; it's just difficult to see what other conclusion they were ever going to reach and consequently publish.

What do you think?

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