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Most Companies Still Fail to Adequately Support Customer Service Operations


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January 10, 2013

Most Companies Still Fail to Adequately Support Customer Service Operations

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

Since your customers are the lifeblood of your business – without them, you don’t have a business – supporting those customers is therefore the most important function in a company. Right? Not always, according to a new study.

Quality certification organization ASQ recently polled more than 600 quality and customer service professionals all over the world to discover the most important customer service challenges facing businesses today.

The news wasn’t good.

Far too many companies simply don't see their customer service department as a priority. As a result, they don’t support the customer service operations as they should, which often leaves call center personnel struggling to serve customers to the best of their ability, and they often lack the resources to do the best job possible, 1to1Media is reporting this week.

Some revealing statistics from the study include:

  • Twenty-nine percent of respondents ranked managing customer expectations as their number one obstacle, while 20 percent said communicating with customers was their primary challenge.
  • Sixteen percent of respondents say educating customers about products and services was their biggest hurdle, 13 percent say providing customers with timely service was their primary challenge, and 12 percent say training and retaining good staff was their main obstacle.
  • The most common customer complaints include long waits (25 percent), lack of clear communication (20 percent), and errors or inaccuracies (17 percent).
  • Only 54 percent of respondents said they resolve more than half of customer quality issues within a reasonable timeframe as set by the organization. Fully 12 percent don't have an established timeframe for resolving issues, and 14 percent don't measure customer issue resolution at all.

So what’s the message here? It’s that despite decades of industry advice about and recommendations for building strong customer support organizations, most companies are still cutting corners and endangering their customer relationships. Too few companies are measuring customer satisfaction and setting goals for improvements, and even fewer are taking steps to improve their performance.

Customers would seem to agree: a Consumer Reports study last year found that 67 percent of respondents said they have hung up on customer service without having had their problem addressed. For smart companies, this should be a wake-up call to make much-needed improvements. Statistics would appear to show, however, that too few U.S. companies today can claim to be “smart.”

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Edited by Brooke Neuman

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