Global Study: Customer Service Remains Critical to Profitability


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Global Consumer Study Reveals that Customer Service Remains Critical to Profitability

* Is Customer Service Getting Better or Worse? More than 61 per cent of Consumers See Improvements from Three Years Ago, but Key Pockets of Frustration Continue

Wokingham, April 30, 2007 – Is customer service getting better or worse? Despite the conventional wisdom of customer “no-service” as the norm, over 61 per cent of consumers see call centres as doing a better job than three years ago. An international survey of more than 4,300 consumers found that, despite some continued pockets of frustration, 23 per cent of all consumers found their experience “significantly better,” and an additional 38 per cent felt it was “somewhat better” while only 12 per cent thought it was worse.

In addition, the survey revealed that customer service is a critical driver of profitability and satisfaction, with more than 75 per cent of consumers saying they would give more business to a company based on a great contact centre experience. And, 50 per cent of consumers say the last time they stopped doing business with a company was partly or wholly due to a poor customer service experience.

The survey, which measures consumer likes, dislikes and frustrations with contact centres and automated customer service systems, was commissioned by Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Inc., an Alcatel-Lucent company (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU). Its findings indicate that, while investments in technology and self-service are starting to pay off, consumers increasingly want better multi-channel service, through SMS, e-mail and other new media.

The Biggest Causes of Customer Frustration

In 2003, Genesys created the pioneer study in customer frustration and has followed in each of the past four years. Globally, the major sources of customer frustration are consistent with findings over the past four years:

* Long hold times – 67 per cent of consumers are frustrated by long hold times, and 88 per cent would prefer to receive a call-back in 10 minutes than to be on hold for that long
* Poor automation – 57 per cent of consumers are frustrated by IVRs with too many or incorrect options and 76 per cent of consumers feel that companies are pushing them to use self-service systems instead of talking to live people
* Customer Repetition -52 per cent of consumers are frustrated by having to repeat information they’ve already provided

“Given the direct impact of contact centre performance on customer loyalty,” said Wes Hayden, president and CEO of Genesys, “successful companies must take every opportunity to connect with their customers to create a positive experience. Customer service is improving, but the expectations of consumers are going up as well. As the world market becomes more competitive, the most successful companies are ones that make the best use of every channel and every interaction. Companies should engage their customers with a well-planned and executed contact centre strategy.”

Survey respondents indicated that a good way to create a positive experience is to address consumers’ basic frustrations. For example, the survey results indicated that companies can eliminate long hold times by including a call-back option in their IVR systems. Rather than waiting on hold, 74 per cent of customers would like to have the option to ask for a call back when they feel the wait would be too long.

Emerging Trends – SMS, Instant Messaging, e-mail, Proactive Contact

The hottest new emerging trends in customer service are the desire for proactive contact and the need for better support for a broader set of communication channels, such as SMS, web chat and e-mail. When it comes to new channels, 86 per cent of consumers want e-mail communication and more than 45 per cent of consumers would like e-mail to become their primary communication vehicle. Speed of communication is critical, however, with 21 per cent expecting a one hour response time – up from six per cent with that expectation in 2003. An additional 17 per cent of consumers expect an e-mail response within 4 hours, and 47 per cent within 24 hours. In addition, 19 per cent would like web chat (instant messaging) and 17 per cent want SMS text messages.

Surprisingly, over 89 per cent of consumers would like to receive proactive communications from companies, by phone or text, to keep them informed about service delivery and/or other products and services that may be of interest to them. Proactive communications offer a way of creating a positive image with customers. According to the survey, 87 per cent of customers would have a more positive opinion of a supplier after receiving a courtesy call to thank them for their business or to ask about their satisfaction; however, only 43 per cent have received such a call.

Substantial Regional Differences

While consumers agreed on most core customer service issues, substantial, regional differences are emerging that offer some of the most striking findings from the survey. Europeans are ten times more likely to want SMS text messages sent to their mobile phones than Americans (21 per cent for Europe versus two per cent for the U.S.). Similarly, 19 per cent of consumers from Asia Pacific and seven per cent from Japan also want SMS messages sent to them. Meanwhile, more than 28 per cent of U.S. consumers want instant web chat capabilities, compared to 19 per cent in Europe, 18 per cent in APAC and 11 per cent in Japan.

More detailed regional findings are available from Genesys contacts within each country. If you would like a copy of the U.K. Genesys Customer Experience Survey, please click here

About Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Inc.
Genesys, an Alcatel-Lucent company, is the only company that focuses 100per cent on software to manage customer interactions over the phone, web and in e-mail. The Genesys software suite dynamically connects customers with the right resources – self-service or assisted-service – to fulfill customer requests, optimise customer care goals and efficiently use resources. Genesys software directs more than 100 million customer interactions every day for 4,000 companies and government agencies in 80 countries. These companies and agencies can leverage their entire organisation, from the contact centre to the back office, to improve the overall customer experience. As a result, Genesys helps stop customer frustration, drive efficiency, and accelerate business innovation. For more information, go to or visit the industry blog at

About Alcatel-Lucent
Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) provides solutions that enable service providers, enterprises and governments worldwide, to deliver voice, data and video communication services to end-users. As a leader in fixed, mobile and converged broadband networking, IP technologies, applications, and services, Alcatel-Lucent offers the end-to-end solutions that enable compelling communications services for people at home, at work and on the move. With operations in more than 130 countries, Alcatel-Lucent is a local partner with global reach. The company has the most experienced global services team in the industry, and one of the largest research, technology and innovation organisations in the telecommunications industry. Alcatel-Lucent achieved adjusted proforma revenues of Euro 18.3 billion in 2006 and is incorporated in France, with executive offices located in Paris. [All figures exclude impact of activities transferred to Thales]. For more information, visit Alcatel-Lucent on the Internet:

Media Contact:
Lucille Jackson, Genesys, 0118 974 7144, [email protected]

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