There are lots of ways of measuring the customer experience, from First Contact Resolution rates to Net Promoter Scores. While these deliver useful data, companies also need to step into their customers’ shoes and see for themselves how good service is. Visit your own website and ask the same basic questions that customers do – is it easy to find the right information and do your online responses actually answer the question? If not, consumers will be forced to change channel and call or email your contact centre – or alternatively, will leave your site and head straight for your competitors.
At Eptica, we’ve used this customer focused methodology for several years to look at the state of UK online service. Our latest research report, the 2012 Eptica Multichannel Customer Experience Study, has just been released and demonstrates room for improvement when it comes to keeping customers satisfied.
100 leading companies in ten sectors were evaluated on their ability to provide answers to ten routine questions via the web, as well as their speed and accuracy when responding to email. Questions were tailored to each sector – so, for example one of the questions airlines were asked was “My flight was cancelled. How do I get a refund?”
The headline findings were that UK companies are struggling to deliver an adequate customer experience with websites only able to answer just over half (53%) of customer questions. While this is a slight improvement from the 50% answer rate of 2011, it does show there’s plenty of room for improvement.
There’s also a growing chasm between best and worst. For example fashion retailers could answer 75% of questions asked on their sites, while CD/DVD/Booksellers and food retailers scored just 40%. Worryingly given we asked the same questions as in 2011, 28% of companies performed worse than in 2012 – showing a real decline in the experience they are providing.
One thing that stood out in the 2012 Eptica Multichannel Customer Experience Study was the variation between different companies in the same sector. One food retailer successfully answered all ten customer questions on its website – but three other companies in the same sector could only score two out of ten.
This demonstrates two key points:
- Delivering the right customer experience online is achievable, and many companies are excelling at web customer service through sites that make it easy to access up to date, accurate information to answer customer questions.
- If you’re not providing the right information to customers, it is likely that your competitors are, meaning that you need to benchmark yourself against them and adopt best practice across your operations.
The 2012 Eptica Multichannel Customer Experience Study report is available for download here, with key findings summarised in this handy infographic. And we’ll be returning to the research over the next few weeks in the blog, drilling into the data to see the state of UK customer service, both in different industries and through channels such as email and social media. Let us know your feedback.