Apologies for the extreme headline – but please hear me out
I just couldn’t help think about how stress impacts health as I read a new survey from Empirix showing that poor customer service in organizations not only costs companies billions of dollars but it adds to customer stress. More than a third of call center calls have poor voice quality according to the survey and more important is the fact that 30% of consumers surveyed said they had voice quality problems with more than half their calls while up to 68% of these people would hang up and potentially call a competitor.
So roughly 20% of customers calling could be hanging up and calling the competition because voice quality is sub par.
Now if you are a company looking to provide the best voice quality in your call center, you face more challenges by the day as users switch to cell phones and AT&T in particular who is known to have poor voice quality on their overtaxed network. Moreover, as consumers look to save money they continue to use Internet telephony while flooding their networks with P2P, video and other traffic. This in turn means the customer’s own network could be the major cause of quality problems.
These increasing challenges obviously show companies need to over-deliver on their contact center voice quality and in doing so they reduce stress which of course means we can all be just a little bit healthier.
Here is the release for more:
Survey Says: 79 Percent of Consumers Have Experienced Poor Voice Quality with Call Centers Costing Organizations Billions Globally
Poor Voice Quality Drives Down Sales and Gives Business Away to Competitors
Bedford, MA – September 20, 2010 – Empirix Inc., the market leader of service quality assurance solutions for new IP communications, today announced it commissioned a global survey that highlights the hidden costs and consumer impact of issues that are at the heart of how an organization communicates and satisfies their customers. According to a recent survey undertaken by the Customer Experience Foundation (CEF) on behalf of Empirix Inc., 79 percent of consumers have experienced poor voice quality. The study asked 3,925 consumers about their experiences in dealing with contact centers and identified technology related trends and common problems that are affecting customer service and costing organizations around the world billions of dollars.
The high percentage of global consumers that highlighted poor voice quality as a common problem points to a real issue in the industry. The study also revealed that poor voice quality drives down sales volumes, increases call lengths and the number of calls that are forced to be redialed. As a result, churn rates can increase for both customers and staff. The magnitude of the problem is indicative of how much businesses are struggling to come to terms with this issue, while consumers are quickly losing patience.
“The word most associated in the study by consumers with poor voice quality was stress, which is not a word organizations want associated with their customers’ experiences,” said Tim Moynihan, vice president of marketing, Enterprise business unit, Empirix. “Nearly half of the consumers who commented also felt that poor voice quality was a sign that companies really didn’t value their business–at a time when ensuring customer loyalty is more important than ever in any industry. When you analyze the problems with the core issue of poor voice quality, it equates to costing the industry billions of dollars, directly impacting the bottom line of organizations across the globe. Empirix has always been committed to providing enterprise solutionsthat guarantee the highest possible quality.”
Other key survey findings include:
- Consumers say that 42 percent of all call center calls are impacted by poor voice quality.
- Thirty percent of consumers who experienced poor voice quality said it happened in more than half of their calls, with 68 percent of those saying they would usually hang up as a result, and if they were calling about a new product or service, they would call a competing company instead.
- Twenty-six percent of consumers say they need to redial to complete a transaction.
- Only one in six companies said they used specialist tools to manage voice quality, so it is no surprise that 72 percent of the businesses polled said they had frequent voice quality issues for which they could not identify the root causes.
- “Stress” is the most commonly used word when consumers were asked to explain how they felt after a poor voice quality call was completed.
- Case studies show that consumers are often forced to repeat themselves on calls as a result of poor voice quality.
“Consumers are quickly losing patience with companies that suffer from poor voice quality–truth is, it’s a consumer’s market; they have choices in today’s market,” said Professor Morris Pentel, chairman at Customer Experience Foundation. “Consumers are having major issues that they will not tolerate, which has obvious ramifications for businesses. Customer and agent churn will increase if they are unable to communicate with each other, not to mention the loss of new business opportunities, such as upsells or new products and offerings. Organizations with a reputation for poor customer service are simply pushing their customers toward their competitors, which impacts market share and the bottom line.”
Poor voice quality has a number of root causes, which explains why consumers think it is such a large problem. Background noise, poor headsets, loose connections, bad home voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), use of services such as Skype, poor transit by carriers and bad mobile phone connections and handsets have all been associated with the problem. Add poor voice quality within the enterprise to these problems and it is no surprise that this issue is such a major hot spot for consumers. Most companies do not have the tools to monitor voice quality and so it is no surprise why this issue has become such a problem–at a time when the move to VoIP is a dominant strategy. As such, Empirix offers testing and monitoring solutions that help companies quickly identify and fix problems before they ever reach the end-user. With Empirix’s solutions, Enterprises can not only assure voice quality but also the entire end-to-end customer experience, thereby reducing customer churn and streamlining the overall customer service process.
The survey had more than 5,140 responses online and by telephone, which came from call center and IT Professionals in the U.S., UK, France and Germany, as well as 3,925 consumers.
For a copy of the whitepaper covering these survey results–called the ‘Could you repeat that please? The costs and customer experience impacts of Poor Voice Quality’–request one online at http://www.empirix.com/poorvq.
As part of Empirix’s commitment to understanding the importance of voice quality, the company previously commissioned CEF to conduct a survey that focused on the loss of revenue and business impact resulting from delayed implementations of critical contact cente
About the Customer Experience Foundation (CEF)
CEF is the academic arm of Customer Experience Services Ltd and provides thought leadership and business science services through a number of partners including Empirix, grameenphone and New Voice Media and supports major financial institutions on a number of areas of best practice. The Foundation also delivers contact centre training and standards in three countries.
The Board of the Foundation comprises leaders with experience from some major institutions including Barclays, Cable & Wireless, BT, Lloyds TSB Bank, Virgin Atlantic and Deloittes.
The Foundation also provides research programmes to develop business tools that establish information that supports the development of ROI business cases in relation to business risks such as customer experience and business reputation. It also offers tools that support the business case in the sales environment and provide intellectual capital to support the use of these tools. In addition the foundation supplies training and assessment programmes worldwide.
The business and Foundation is headed by Professor Morris Pentel BA (Hons) MBA DBA who is also the Head of the Institute of Contact Sciences and the Contact Foundation. He was also the 2009 chairman of the World Class Contact Centre Forum and has been a keynote speaker at many events.
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Empirix is the leading provider of service quality assurance solutionsfor new IP communications. Since 1992, Empirix has led the market in innovation and expertise for IP testingand application performance management. It’s widely acclaimed Hammer™Test Engine™, with patented technology is the acknowledged global standard for validating the quality of IP networks, systems and applications. The world’s largest service providers, enterprise contact centers, and equipment manufacturers depend on Empirix® solutions to maintain the quality of the user experience for business-critical voice, data, video and mobile services. With Empirix, customers can increase revenues, reduce customer churn and cut support costs. Empirix is privately held and headquartered in Bedford, MA. For further information, please visit www.empirix.com.
Empirix, Hammer, and Hammer Test Engine are trademarks of Empirix Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.