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What Do Customers Think Is Important for CX? (and do businesses give them it?)

It is difficult for an organisation to be confident about which of the many elements that go towards a great customer experience are actually the most important, and consequently should receive the greatest investment and resource.

Over 200 UK businesses were surveyed to see what they thought the most important CX factors were for customers.

With 51% of respondents ranking it in first place, first-contact resolution was clearly seen as being the most important factor impacting upon customer experience, and a further 36% placed it within the top three.

A short queue time or wait time for a response was also seen as being important, being ranked in the top 3 by 43% of respondents, with polite and friendly employees being ranked in the top 3 by 52% of organisations surveyed. Having the issue handled by a single employee was placed in the top 3 by 46% of businesses.

A survey of 1,000 UK consumers was also carried out to identify any differences in opinion between organisations and customers about the most important customer experience factors, and whether the customer’s age makes any difference.

This consumer research has some interesting findings when comparing consumer attitudes to businesses’ beliefs:

·         both businesses and consumers as a whole agree that first contact resolution is the most important single factor impacting upon customer experience when contacting a business

·         a short queue/wait time for response is also seen as being an important part of the customer experience

·         having UK-based employees is seen as far more important to customers than businesses believe

·         having long opening hours is important to customers (especially from the younger generation), whereas businesses see this as being amongst the least important customer experience factors.

When considering these findings from the perspective of the various age ranges, the importance of first contact resolution is considerably higher in the older age ranges, as is having UK-based employees. There is also a pattern that older age-groups are less likely to be happy with being passed between agents

Younger customers place very significant importance on longer opening hours, with this factor being voted by 25-34 year-olds as being even more important to them than first contact resolution.

Younger customers are also more likely to value having a choice of ways to communicate with the organisation, and further evidence for this age group’s valuing of its time can be seen in relatively high importance being placed upon short call/web chat duration. When segmenting the consumer data by socio-economic group, ABC1 respondents are those who are keenest to have first contact resolution, a short wait time and short call duration.

C2DE respondents are more likely to state that having UK-based employees is positive for their customer experience.

Both groups place the same emphasis on polite and friendly employees, and ABC1s are slightly more likely to state that being able to contact a business outside normal working hours is important.

The findings seem to support the need for an increase in enhanced self-service – perhaps through using AI - in order to provide a good level of service 24/7, which is otherwise a very expensive business for a contact centre. The option of using an offshore operation outside normal UK working hours is unpopular with older customers, although the younger generation are much less concerned.

But it is first-contact resolution that is generally seen as being key to customer experience, and here too, AI can assist agents by suggesting accurate answers that have previously had positive outcomes for customers. 

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