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Huge Disconnect between How Companies Rate Their Customer Service and How Customers Rate It

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May 01, 2012

Huge Disconnect between How Companies Rate Their Customer Service and How Customers Rate It

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

Does your company provide excellent customer service? If you're like most companies, you probably think so. In reality, if you're like most companies, you probably don't.

A recent survey of IT professionals conducted by Kelton Research on behalf of Enghouse Interactive (News - Alert) found that, within the U.S., 93 percent of companies said they provide either “excellent” or “good customer service.” 6 percent said their customer service was average and only one percent admitted that their customer service was poor.

There's fantasy, and then there's reality. After all, customers' opinions are what count on the subject...not IT professionals, no matter how educated they think they are. But this isn't the whole story, wrote CMS Wire yesterday. In a Contact Babel survey of 210 contact center managers and directors, 86 percent believe that telephone-based customer interaction monitoring and analysis methods are either “effective” or “very effective.” So that settles it, right? Companies are providing great customer service, and they have figured out the best way to measure it.

Not so fast, says Enghouse's J.R. Sloan in the CMS Wire report. What a company thinks is great customer service isn't necessarily what a customer thinks of great customer service, and most companies probably don't have the means in place to measure the real metrics.

“If a customer has to call numerous times to solve a problem, he likely will view the whole series of interactions as a frustrating failure,” noted Sloan in the article. “However the company might count the interaction as a success — based on the fact that a solution was found at all or that the call was answered within five minutes.” A company may count an interaction successful because the agent smiled, followed the script and didn't keep the customer on hold too long. The customer may leave that same interaction angry that his problem wasn't satisfactorily solved.

Sloan theorizes that the gap between real and perceived customer service is two-fold: First, that many companies do have technology constraints and are not able to deliver the quality of customer interactions they would like. And second, they do not have adequate reporting to measure the customer experience from a more meaningful, customer-centric view.

Which yes...means redefining and redesigning how you offer customer service. And not believing your IT department when they say everything's “great” in the call center.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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