New Survey Finds Service Providers Still Trying To Master Customer Service Fundamentals


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Pegasystems study shows businesses lack critical insights to provide deeper personalization for better customer experiences

CAMBRIDGE, Mass . – November 4, 2015Pegasystems Inc. (NASDAQ: PEGA), the software company empowering the world’s leading enterprises through strategic business applications, today announced the results of a new survey that reveals service-centric businesses have not progressed beyond the fundamentals of customer service at a time when consumer expectations are reaching new heights. The report finds 74 percent of business decision makers admit their customer service initiatives are primarily focused on ‘getting the basics right’ even as consumers demand more advanced personalized experiences.

The U.S. survey of more than 1,000 participants – a combination of consumers and business decision makers from key customer service-centric industries, specifically retail banking and telecommunications/broadband – also sheds new light on the perception gap between how well businesses think they perform versus what their customers actually experience. For example:

  • Still getting to know you: While 66 percent of responding telco/broadband and retail banking companies claim they deeply know their customers, only 24 percent of telco/broadband customers and 41 percent of banking customers believe the same. Another 20 percent of telco/broadband and six percent of retail banking customers feel these businesses don’t know their preferences at all. This level of knowledge is critical for companies to anticipate customer needs and personalize the customer journey.
  • The need for speed: While nearly 60 percent of businesses believe their customer service representatives quickly respond to their customers every time, the majority of consumers disagree. In fact, only 27 percent of telco/broadband customers feel their provider meets this speed threshold. This indicates businesses need to speed up response time to meet customer expectations.
  • Can you hear me now?: Customers say that one of their top three customer service problems is with companies that fail to listen to their needs, despite the fact that retail banking organizations optimistically self-rank this capability as their top customer service attribute, indicating a major disconnect.
  • Will they stay or will they go? : Twenty-seven percent of retail banking customers and 38 percent of telco/broadband customers say it is likely they will switch one of their providers in the next 12 months. However, on average, these businesses feel their annual churn rate is only around 18 percent (17 percent for retail banks and 19 percent for telco/broadband). This indicates more customers may be at risk to switch than businesses believe.

Businesses Still Learning the Customer Service Ropes

Though a wide majority of businesses understand the importance of customer service to their brand, most are still focused on the basics while new innovative business models are gaining the attention of their customer base:

  • Still mastering Customer Service 101: Only 20 percent of businesses are working on developing omni-channel integration capabilities, which underscores the point that most organizations are focused on mastering the basics at the expense of advanced services that can help them better engage with customers.
  • Digital disruption lurks in the background: The survey found businesses underestimate the threat from new, innovative providers as 61 percent believe the biggest competition still remains with other traditional providers within their existing market. However, over 50 percent of telco/broadband customers said they would consider a new innovative service provider in the future. The threat is not as high for retail banks as only 36 percent of their customers said a switch to a new innovator was likely.
  • Social media trends at the top of the tech agenda: Retail banking organizations investing in customer experience say that social media (cited by 60 percent of respondents) ranks as the top technology priority, followed by mobile (56 percent), marketing (54 percent), and analytics (38 percent). The technology priorities for telco/broadband organizations are similar but in a slightly different order, as their top-ranked investments are mobile (62 percent), social media (60 percent), analytics (60 percent), and marketing (54 percent). Interestingly, while social media makes both lists, only one percent of customers reported social to be the best channel for customer service, with the majority preferring telephone or face-to-face interaction.

Who’s Leading in Customer Service?

  • Hotels best cater to customer needs: Consumers in the U.S. rank hotels (46 percent), restaurants (42 percent), and banks (38 percent) as having the best customer service, while industries such as telecom (10 percent), utilities (7 percent), and legal services (7 percent) lagged behind.
  • Brick and mortar provides better retail shopping experiences: Traditional retail shops ranked fourth (24 percent) while ecommerce sites (10 percent) fell to the bottom of the list, which supports conclusions about shoppers’ preference for face-to-face customer service over digital interaction.
  • CEOs lead the customer experience charge: Nearly 50 percent of companies said their Chief Executive Officer is responsible for leading customer experience, while 21 percent said it falls on the Chief Financial Officer. Interestingly, only 13 percent selected the Chief Customer Service Officer and seven percent felt it was the Chief Marketing Officer’s responsibility.

To download the complete results for Pegasystems ‘Moments of Truth’ customer experience survey, please for the U.S. retail banking report and for the U.S. telco and broadband report.

Quotes & Commentary:

“Despite the critical role customer service plays in making or breaking any business, most companies are just scratching the surface of personalizing that service to help foster long-term customer relationships,” said Don Schuerman, CTO and VP of Product Marketing, Pegasystems. “By using technology to better understand their customers on a one-to-one basis, businesses can stay ahead of their customers’ needs and provide the best possible experience.”

Supporting Resources:

Report: Download complete ‘Moments of Truth’ retail banking industry U.S. survey results

Report: Download complete ‘Moments of Truth’ telco and broadband industry U.S. survey results

About Pegasystems

Pegasystems (NASDAQ: PEGA) develops strategic applications for marketing, sales, service, and operations. Pega’s applications streamline critical business operations, connect enterprises to their customers seamlessly in real-time across channels, and adapt to meet rapidly changing requirements. Pega’s Global 2000 customers include many of the world’s most sophisticated and successful enterprises. Pega’s applications, available in the cloud or on-premises, are built on its unified Pega 7 platform, which uses visual tools to easily extend and change applications to meet clients’ strategic business needs. Pega’s clients report that Pega gives them the fastest time to value, extremely rapid deployment, efficient re-use and global scale. For more information, please visit us at

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