PR practitioners and corporate communicators may not always have their fingers on the pulse of the customer relations function, but that's not necessarily a good thing - especially considering how much impact customer opinion has on corporate reputation.
Case in point: According to a global survey conducted by Dimension Data, companies are increasing their adoption of contact-center technologies to address consumer complaints. To keep PR professionals in the know about new trends and technologies to improve the customer experience, here are the key statistics:
- Customer satisfaction rates for North American contact centers dropped from 84% in 2005 to 62.9% in 2007. Common reasons include long hold times, poor voice recognition software, hard-to-understand agents and absence of live agents;
- Contact centers reported an average hold time of 64 second, which is a 73% increase from last year;
- 69.3% of centers record calls to ensure quality service;
- 75% of surveyed contact centers still own some or all of their technologies, rather than outsourcing them overseas; and
- 64.9% of contact centers use call prioritization as their preferred routing approach, which determines the order in which a live agent will attend to a request based.
While contact center technologies aren't the responsibility of communications professionals, they should be abreast of the customer service complaints and opportunities within their organizations. New technologies are enabling a more pleasant customer experience; it's just a matter of getting the messages - both good and bad - from the mouth of the caller to the PR exec who can enact change.