Survey: Quality Service, Cost Control Are Top Customer Service Challenges

eCRMGuide.com Staff

Updated · Mar 01, 2001

LOS ANGELES–In a just released survey, top customer service managers, operations directors
and business development executives were asked to name their most pressing customer service
issues. 70% cited either service quality or cost control.

The survey, conducted by PeopleSupport, Inc., a provider of multi-channel Web-based
customer service solutions, says 40% identified service quality as their organization’s
number one challenge, and 30% named cost control the most pressing issue. PeopleSupport
says the survey was conducted in January 2001 via Web interviews of senior executives of
large enterprise companies.

These results highlight the dilemma that numerous retail, healthcare, financial services,
technology and communications companies face as they merge their off-line sales and service
strategies with newer Web-based channels, according to PeopleSupport. It says companies are
challenged to increase multi-channel service quality while keeping costs in check.

“As consumers’ service quality expectations increase in both online and offline
environments, we are seeing numerous companies struggle with managing their call centers
and contact centers effectively,” said Lance Rosenzweig, CEO of PeopleSupport. “Companies
must find the right balance of technology, skilled representatives who can handle
multiple channels of communication, and integrated customer management solutions.
Companies must evaluate their needs carefully to determine whether to provide services
in-house, outsource, or use some combination of the two approaches.”

“Additionally, the best way to meet customers’ expectations is to understand what is
important to them,” Rosenzweig added. “For example, which customers prefer email
versus voice versus chat? As a company becomes more familiar with its customers’
preferred medium of contact, the company can create a customer service strategy that
incorporates the right mix of customer service agents and technology — ultimately
improving service quality in a cost effective way.”

PeopleSupport says the survey participants included vice presidents, directors, and
other customer service, IT and operations professionals from leading retail organizations.
The survey was part of an interactive Webinar conducted by PeopleSupport, Inc.

Other pressing issues ranked by importance of top managers at these companies included
having up-to-date technology (17%), having skilled employees (10%), and
retaining and recruiting employees (3%), according to the survey.