Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Smartphone apps, e-mail and web self-service redefining contact centers in Asia Pacific

GURGAON, INDIA: Avaya, a global leader in business collaboration systems, software and services, today revealed that consumers in Asia Pacific are showing a clear increase in their preference to interact with businesses via sophisticated contact center communications technologies such as smartphone applications, e-mail and web self-service.

The findings were revealed in Avaya’s annual Contact Center Consumer Index[1], which reported 42 per cent of Singaporian consumers, 35 per cent of Australian and 31 per cent of Japanese consumers have indicated that they prefer to use other methods such as web chat and web self-service, rather than traditional phone conversations, to contact a customer service center.

Key consumer trends that were revealed in the survey are as follows:

* Consumers want more effective Email correspondence with their Contact Center
Amongst contact center technologies, the increased preference for email has shown significant gains on previous years. Also, 21 percent of consumers in Singapore listed e-mail as the channel used most often to contact the hospitality industry, while Japanese consumers (24 percent) and Australian consumers (12 percent) indicated that they prefer using e-mail to contact retail organizations.

* Next to e-mail, web self-service is also nominated as one of the top three channels that Singaporean (35 percent), Australian (41 percent) and Japanese consumers (63 percent) have indicated that they will use regularly in the future.

Smart Mobile technologies preference increases
Smart Phone Applications are the new channel that consumers suggested they would most like to use in the future to interact with a contact center. If this service is offered, it would be especially welcomed in Singapore where 76 percent indicated that this was their preference; while only 39 percent of Australian consumers and 37 per cent of Japanese consumers agreed. The use of such alternative channels, besides traditional phone conversation to interact with customer service centers, has demonstrated that if businesses want to meet the changing preferences of consumers, they will need to evolve the range of channels available.

Embracing social media in the contact center
Avaya, has found that social media has revitalized the contact center experience. Based on the survey, this trend is particularly prevalent amongst consumers in Singapore, with 41 percent saying that companies have initiated interaction with them via social media to provide information about new products, services or special offers. With the increasing number of businesses contacting customers via social media – businesses should ensure they are also monitoring customer feedback within social media forums and have contact center support allocated to manage this communication.

Contact center experience and its impact on businesses
Businesses run the risk of losing customers as a result of dissatisfaction with their contact center interaction. In fact, 36 percent of respondents in Singapore have indicated that they were likely to, or had already moved their business as a result of their interaction with a customer service center. Twenty six percent of Japanese consumers and 25 percent of Australian consumers reported the same views. In fact, 25 percent of Singaporean consumers have cited ‘poor customer service center experience’ as the most important attribute that would cause them to move their business to another company.

With the shift in these key contact center trends in Asia Pacific, businesses need to adapt to consumer demands and offer a multimedia experience. New technologies – which include innovations in multimedia work assignment, workforce optimization and outbound self-service – can help businesses more effectively manage customer experiences in an always-on world. These technologies can help drive improvements in customer satisfaction, agent productivity, and cost-savings throughout contact center operations.

This is the fourth year that the Avaya Contact Center Consumer Index has been conducted. 2,000 consumers from Asia Pacific region, located in Singapore, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, who were recent users of contact centers, were surveyed from January to February 2011.

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