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NICE Explores Challenge of Serving the Engaged Customer

June 13, 2012

Consumers are more empowered than ever before as they are communicating more often and using multiple channels to contact an enterprise. NICE Systems (News - Alert), a provider of intent-based solutions that capture and analyze interactions and transactions, realize intent, and extract and leverage insights to deliver impact in real time, revealed results from its NICE 2012 Consumer Channel Preference Survey. The survey revealed that on average, consumers are using six different channels for contacting service providers, and Generation Y (consumers aged 18-30) is leading the way in expanding the use of alternative self-serve channels.

The emergence of the “engaged customer” has recently become part of the customer service vernacular. The engaged customer is technologically savvy and knowledgeable, constantly connected, loathes to wait, is intolerant of poor service, and, by virtue of their prolific use of social media, uniquely influential. Companies must be ready to meet the engaged customer in any media of choice and do so in a timely, efficient and consistent manner.

The most popular and growing self-service channel continues to be the Web, with nearly 30 percent of survey respondents consulting their providers’ websites at least once a week, and emerging almost as successful in enabling customers to accomplish tasks as consulting a live representative. However, smartphone applications and social networks have grown in popularity, with more than 40 percent of respondents noting that they have increased their use of these channels.

This information isn’t too surprising, as Cisco recently predicted that by 2016, 18.9 billion Internet-devices will be online and mobile devices are set to dominate the world of screens.

Despite these trends, the contact center is still viewed as the most successful channel for accomplishing tasks. More than 50 percent of respondents noted that if they cannot easily achieve resolution, they will turn to the contact center. There, customer expectations of live representatives are high. Forty percent of respondents expect reps to be informed of their experiences upon beginning the conversation, in addition to being able to successfully resolve their issues quickly.

The primary reason consumers seek assisted service is the ability to achieve first call resolution (FCR) when interacting with a person. Half of respondents cited FCR as their number one reason for consulting a life rep and branch employee. Furthermore, more than 70 percent of respondents said they are successful in getting their issues resolved by speaking to a service rep.

The survey collected responses from nearly 1,200 people between the ages of 18 and 65, living in major metropolitan areas in the U.S., UK and Australia, and focused on customer interactions with service providers in financial, telecom, travel and hospitality, healthcare, and insurance services industries.

NICE knows all about catering to the customer’s experience, as the company just received a STAR award for excellence in enabling customer success. The award recognizes professional services organizations for demonstrating an organizational commitment to and record of achievement in enriching the customer experience.

For more findings and information, the survey can be downloaded here.

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