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Multichannel experience most dysfunctional aspect of customer service, according to new North America research study

Industry performance in 2010 improves slightly over 2009 in web self-service, but remains flat and barely “average” in overall service, according to latest research from eGain

Mountain View, Calif. (February 23, 2010): eGain Communications Corporation (OTC BB: EGAN.OB), the leading provider of multichannel customer service and knowledge management software for on-site or on-demand deployment, reported that over 70% of leading North American enterprise businesses were rated “below average” or “poor” in multichannel customer service experience.

eGain has been tracking and reporting on the state of customer service in North America and Europe over the last several years through the industry’s most comprehensive mystery-shopping multichannel research study. This research provides a holistic assessment of the state of multichannel customer experience within and across phone and eService channels.

“The customer experience, at every interaction, affects future revenue and profit. Customer experience optimization, therefore, ensures that such customer experiences across channels reinforce the organization’s basic brand value proposition, and differentiate its business,” said Johan Jacobs, Research Director at Gartner in his research note “Ten Imperatives for Optimizing the Multichannel Management Customer Experience”, dated October 30, 2009.

Conducted and compiled in late 2009 and early 2010, eGain’s “2010 State of Multichannel Customer Service” research evaluates multiple aspects of web self-service and contact center customer service of 175 leading enterprises in the U.S. and Canada, many Fortune 1000 companies among them. All of them had an annual revenue of more than $250 million, and are equally distributed across the financial services, retail, communications, consumer goods, insurance, healthcare and pharmaceuticals sectors.

Analysts used a “mystery shopping” approach to measure customer service performance in six dimensions: choice of communication channels, email response, web self-service, cross-channel consistency, single-channel cross-agent consistency, and phone customer service*. Scores for these metrics were then abstracted to an overall Service Quotient (SQ), on a scale of 0.0 to 4.0, for each company, as well as for each industry sector and the overall market.

The numeric scores map to the following ratings:

  • Poor (<1.0)
  • Below average (>=1.0 and <2.0)
  • Above average (>=2.0 and <3.0)
  • Exceptional (3.0 to 4.0)

Key findings

  • The retail sector ranked first in overall customer service, with an “above average” SQ of 2.3, followed by the communications sector (telecom, cable, satellite and Internet services) with a score of 2.2. Although the overall market remained flat in SQ, these two sectors improved their SQ scores over last year.
  • SQ for the overall market was “below average” at 1.9 out of 4.0, with half of the companies in the “poor” or “below average” categories. There was only marginal improvement over last year’s score of 1.8.
  • All areas except web self-service declined in performance, with web self-service posting a slight increase for the overall market from 1.7 in 2009 to 1.9 in 2010, still “below average”.
  • A shocking 71% of the companies received a “poor” or “below average” score in cross-channel customer experience and 42% received a “poor” or “below average” rating in the cross-agent experience, measured on the phone channel. The percentage of companies that received a poor cross-channel score went up significantly—from 60% in 2009 to 71% in 2010. The overall market bordered on “poor” in this metric with a score of 1.0.

Top performing sectors in specific aspects of customer service are:

  • Email customer service: Retail
  • Web self-service: Retail
  • Interaction choices: Communications
  • Phone: Communications
  • Cross-channel experience: Retail
  • Cross-agent experience: Consumer goods

“Our research shows that customer experience suffered as businesses hunkered down in a tough market,” said Ashu Roy, Chairman and CEO of eGain. “Even so, smart businesses are adopting a Customer Interaction Hub (CIH) strategy as a cost-effective way to deliver superior customer experience today, while investing in a platform for innovation.”

Details of findings will be presented at an online seminar on February 24, 2010. To attend, register at: http://www.destinationcrm.com/Webinars/Details.aspx?EventID=220&src=eg4

Alternatively, send an email request to pr@egain.com.

About eGain

eGain (OTC BB: EGAN.OB) is the leading provider of multichannel customer service and knowledge management software for on-site or on-demand deployment. For over a decade, hundreds of the world’s largest companies have relied on eGain to transform their traditional call centers, help desks, and web customer service operations into multichannel customer interaction hubs (CIHs). Based on the Power of One™, the concept of one unified platform for multichannel customer interaction and knowledge management, eGain solutions improve customer experience, optimize service processes end to end, increase sales, and enhance contact center performance.

Headquartered in Mountain View, California, eGain has operating presence in North America, EMEA and APAC. To learn more about us, visit www.eGain.com or call our offices: +1-800-821-4358 (US), +44-(0)-1753-464646 (EMEA), or +91-(0)-20-6608-9200 (APAC). Also, follow us on Twitter at @eGain (http://twitter.com/egain) and Facebook at (http://facebook.com/egain).

eGain, the eGain logo, and all other eGain product names and slogans are trademarks or registered trademarks of eGain Communications Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. All other company names and products mentioned in this release may be trademarks or registered trademarks of the respective companies.

* Telephone customer service was included as an additional area of measurement for this year’s research, and included criteria such as the number of transfers and hold time.

eGain media contact:

Phone: 408-636-4505
Email: press@egain.com