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Customer Support and Service
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Customer Support and Service
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Survey and Research Data

Customer Complaints Resolution Process needs to be fast and personal.

In a June 2002 Forrester Research document, which pertained to customer service matters, executives from 25 financial institutions reported the following:

  • 72% of respondents were not able to permit customers to continue filling out applications off-line which they had begun on-line.
  • 76% reported that when customers called their call centres for help with trading stock or paying bills from their web-sites, agents couldn't view the same screens as the on-line customers. Nor could they guide them through making the trades or payments.
  • 52% reported that customer contact information changed on the web was not necessarily reflected in all of the customers’ company accounts.

Years of internet experience reportedly led to greater numbers of customers working on-line i.e. those with 1 to 3 years experience worked mainly off-line. For those with 5 years experience:

  • 33% used both on and off-line services35% worked exclusively on-line
  • 32% worked exclusively off-line
    (Fleischer, 2003)

CSS Self Service growth potential

Forester Research reported that: 62 percent of Fortune 1000 companies treat self-service as their most important CRM initiative and predicted that on-line and self service applications would grow by 10 percent reaching some $1.1 billion in CRM spending in 2008. Natural language based self-service technology was expected to grow annually at 12 percent and reach $9.2 billion in 2008. The driving force behind these initiatives was the desire to maintain quality services whilst keeping CSS costs at reasonable levels (Lough & Lester, 2004)

Customer support and service (CSS) - self service not the most popular option

In a study by Jupiter Research involving 2,734 US consumers and concerning customer support self-services, the following online customer services were used by respondents for recent inquires:

  • Sent e-mail (50%);
  • Made a phone call (22%);
  • Used static FAQ list (13%);
  • Used searchable self-service (8%);
  • Used text based chat (3%);
  • Referred to support community (1%);
  • Not sure (3%).

80% of consumers reported using searchable self-service during the previous 6 months, however just 8% indicated this as the first support option used for their most recent inquiries and 54% reported that self-service searches returned too many results to be useful. Jupiter projected that on-line service contacts would grow by 28% over a 12 month period. Jupiter’s model revealed that the availability of self- service search functions could reduce support contact volumes by some 10%, and this had the effect of delaying the need to increase call centre headcounts.
(Daniels, 2003) 

Customer Complaint Information not being used to improve organisational performance 

A benchmarking survey by Swallow Information Systems of 28 organisations in the business-to-consumer marketplace found that while 93% of the organisations recorded customer data, only a third used their customers` opinions to improve organisational practices. In addition, while 89% used the Internet as a prime method for contacting customers, most had no procedure for resolving online complaints and enquiries. At least one quarter of these organisations have no dedicated customer service policy at all. (Anonymous, 2000a)  
Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are important for ongoing customer satisfaction 

A July 2002 survey of 151 customers of data service providers (SP) carried out by Open Group, a consortium of US companies revealed that of the respondents:

  • 75% would not subscribe to certain services without an SLA;
  • 91% reported that SLAs were `important` for continuing satisfaction with their SPs;
  • 18% of SLAs for some services were met only `sometimes`;
  • 60% of respondents had internal SLAs with the IT department;
  • More than 40 percent (particularly finance and health care-related organisations) offered SLAs to outside parties;
  • Only 26 percent could monitor conformance to SLAs in real-time;
  • 58% modify SLA parameters at least once a year;
  • Should SLAs not be met respondents indicated that:
  • 61% would terminate the contract;
  • 54% wanted penalties paid;
  • 44% wanted fees waived.
    (Korostoff, 2002)


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