2013 ICMI RESEARCH RELEASED: Extreme Engagement in the Multichannel Contact Center Research Report and Best Practices Guide

The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) unveils findings on how the emerging channels can be leveraged to improve the customer experience

Jul 29, 2013, 19:53 ET from International Customer Management Institute (ICMI)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., July 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) has released its 2013 research report, Extreme Engagement in the Multichannel Contact Center: Leveraging the Emerging Channels Research Report and Best Practices Guide, including key findings, study results, and guidance on implementing and optimizing multichannel support.

The study results were collected, compiled and analyzed from a 2013 second quarter poll with over 300 respondents – a mixture of call center executives, directors and managers. Their input painted a compelling picture of how channels such as social media, mobile, and advanced self-service help shape and improve the customer experience, first contact resolution, and customer engagement.  While interpreting the data, ICMI realized an often overlooked component in the agent and customer lifecycle; that of customer engagement. ICMI shows contact centers where customer engagement fits in the chain of agent experience impacting agent happiness which impacts customer experience which ultimately impacts the customer's lifetime value.

"Happy and engaged agents don't just create happy and satisfied customers; they can create extremely engaged customers", says Sarah Stealey Reed, the Content Director for ICMI. "And everyone should be striving for that level! Our research shows that only 25% of companies feel their customers are extremely engaged with their brand. How can you fix that?" Stealey Reed suggests starting back at the beginning with the agent.  "Arm the agent with the knowledge, channels, and tools they require to best service customers. And take advantage of the emerging channels! Mobile, social, and self-service are the perfect vessels to fulfill the higher needs of today's agents and the greater demands of the connected customers."

Seventy-two percent (72%) consider Mobile a necessary channel; although only thirty-nine percent (39%) of companies support it as a channel.

A few key findings from the research study include:

  • Only 25% of companies feel their customers are extremely engaged in their brand
  • 90% of customers find the features of social customer service extremely useful or somewhat useful
  • 93% of customers would be MORE satisfied with customer service if they were offered their channel choice
  • Self-service is said to increase deflection rate or lower volume to other channels by 57% of study participants
  • Agents use social media personally, but don't feel comfortable doing so in the contact center

ICMI's July 2013 "Extreme Engagement in the Multichannel Contact Center: Leveraging the Emerging Channels Research Report and Best Practices Guide" strives to help contact center executives understand how to use emerging channels in their own organizations and to help contact center leaders make the right decisions to successfully accelerate any combination of multichannel support, most notably self-service, mobile, and social media engagement.

"The fact that many service providers are uncertain how mobile, social and self-service channels are impacting the customer experience is not surprising," says Loyd Olson, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for USAN. "In working with contact centers that have fully adopted these newer channels, we have learned that it is often the methods used during implementation that contribute to this uncertainty."

A complete review of the study's final results can be found within the research report, Extreme Engagement in the Multichannel Contact Center: Leveraging the Emerging Channels Research Report and Best Practices Guide.

In addition, ICMI offers a free whitepaper featuring a portion of the study results and presents commentary and related research findings through a recorded webinar and educast.

Funding for the study was provided by USAN.  USAN call center software and customer engagement solutions in the cloud deliver the ultimate customer experience. For organizations with complex business processes and multi-channel customer contact needs, USAN provides communications, engagement and optimization solutions to help manage the customer experience with infinite flexibility across channels. (Note: The underwriter, USAN, does not have access to individual study responses, nor will they be shared with the underwriter.)

About ICMI
The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) is the leading global provider of comprehensive resources for customer management professionals -- from frontline agents to executives -- who wish to improve customer experiences and increase efficiencies at every level of the contact center. Since 1985, ICMI has helped more than 50,000 organizations in 167 countries through training, events, certification, consulting, and informational resources. ICMI's experienced and dedicated team of industry insiders, trainers, and consultants are committed to helping you raise the strategic value of your contact center, optimize your operations and improve your customer service. For more information, visit www.icmi.com. ICMI is a part of UBM (www.ubm.com), a global live media and B2B communications, marketing service and data provider.

Questions or interview requests may be directed to: Sarah Stealey Reed, sstealey@icmi.com

SOURCE International Customer Management Institute (ICMI)