Survey Reveals Customer Service Employees’ Experience as Consumers and as Employees Supporting and Selling in the Contact Center
- 70% of consumers prefer to use a combination of channels simultaneously to find answers.
- Over half of contact center employees said that in addition to solving customer requests, upselling and cross-selling have become “part of their job”.
- 81% of employees say more mental health resources would make them happier and more productive.
Lucidworks, the provider of next-generation AI-powered search applications and pioneer of the Connected Experience Cloud, shared results from a survey of more than 800 contact center employees regarding their experience working in customer service and their own experiences as consumers when trying to get help. The survey explores how consumers seek out information and connect with the contact center, the transformation of the contact center into a revenue center, which tools agents want in their tech stack, and contact center employees’ access to mental health resources. The survey reveals that consumers are eager to problem-solve across multiple channels, agents see upselling as part of the job, and employees want more support for their mental health.
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Consumers Want to Self-Serve; Calling In Is a Last Resort
When an issue arises, consumers’ first move is to find the answers themselves. More than two-thirds of respondents said that they will look for information before contacting customer support. 70% of respondents prefer to use a combination of channels simultaneously while looking for an answer.
By the time customers connect with contact center representatives, they’ve likely exhausted their options across multiple channels. Nearly half of respondents say that the most common reason they’re taking the time to pick up the phone is because it’s their last resort and they’ve tried everything else.
Upselling Is a Part of Customer Support; Consumers Appreciate Recommendations
Just over half of respondents identified upselling and cross-selling as “part of their job”. Nearly 80% of contact center employees, in their experience as consumers, say they’ve had a customer service representative offer suggestions for additional products or services to purchase. Of those respondents, one in two say that recommendations are helpful and they’ll usually purchase the additional items or services that an agent recommends.
Selling practices vary across industries and geographies. Nearly 70% of respondents who work in software view upselling and cross-selling as part of their job, compared to only 40% of retail and healthcare employees. The contact center is tasked not only with delighting customers to foster loyalty during an almost two-year long pandemic, there’s also an additional remit to drive revenue and transform from cost center to revenue center.
Consumers Want Efficiency and Ease; Employees Want Employers to Invest in Tech
The contact center has the power to drive a best-in-class customer experience while creating revenue—but only if employees have the technology to solve problems quickly and identify and encourage upsells. Roughly one quarter of employees say using multiple platforms to find answers isn’t ideal—they either have too many tools or too few.
The majority of respondents identified internal chat as a valuable tool, followed closely by personalization. However, these tools don’t consistently perform well across organizations. Almost a third of respondents said that those same tools don’t work well for them. Companies must invest in technology that can deliver measurable results for the contact center and not just be yet one more window, chat box, or search bar for agents to navigate around.
Entry- and Mid-Level Agents Feel Less Supported; “More Is Better” for Mental Health
Seven in ten respondents said that their employers offer resources to help deal with mental health and burnout. However, over 80% of respondents say that more resources would make them more productive and happier. When comparing U.S. versus U.K. respondents, the survey revealed that support is much more common in the States. 84% of U.S. respondents say their employer offers resources to deal with mental health and burnout, compared to only 56% of U.K. respondents who say the same.
The survey also revealed that employees who work more closely with customers are feeling less supported. Entry-level and mid-level employees are more likely to report that they don’t feel like they get enough breaks in the day to have the energy to deal with customers compared to senior management and executive employees.
“Customer service teams are operating with fewer employees and greater demand,” said Sathya Raghavendran, SVP Technology, Lucidworks. “That puts a lot of pressure on the contact center. Companies have provided customers with multiple channels to find answers, but innovation and upkeep must continue to meet changing demands and unanticipated challenges. Companies that can connect insights from the consumer side with the contact center employee experience can create compounding value across the entire organization to drive customer satisfaction, increase revenue, and support happy employees.”
Other key findings from the survey include:
- In the U.K., only 13% of respondents say that FAQs always answer their questions, compared to 46% of American respondents.
- 42% of respondents say that sometimes their question is so complicated they need to call the contact center early on in their journey.
- Respondents ranked agent’s effectiveness in solving the problem and ease of getting in touch with a real human as the two most important attributes for contact centers.
- Two-thirds of U.S. respondents say they usually purchase items and services recommended by a customer service agent.