Thursday, February 4, 2010

Survey: Shift Required for Smartphone Customer Support

Amdocs announced the results of an independent survey that examined customer care issues associated with smartphone devices and the impact these have on user adoption and customer satisfaction. The survey found that while smartphones are becoming increasingly complex, the majority of customer support calls pertain to basic issues that can be resolved remotely, requiring little or no technical support.

The survey polled more than 4,000 wireless device users from the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. Those respondents who had contacted a call center classified the reason for doing so as a "technical support" issue, even though the majority of these issues were basic "how to" inquiries such as device configuration (how to set up email), or menu navigation (how to enable WiFi access). These inquiries could have been resolved quickly via web self-service, by Level 1 customer care agents, or by training the customer on basic usage at time of sale, saving service providers time and investment in support resources. In addition, a majority of the respondents who had difficulties in using their smartphone stated that they strongly considered returning their device because they could not resolve these basic issues.

Survey highlights include:

The call center remains the first port of call: More than 50 percent of those surveyed made a call to the contact center to resolve basic support issues, taking an average of two calls to close their issue. On average, support calls lasted 17 minutes, indicating that call center agents lack the technology and training necessary to resolve these basic customer inquiries at the first instance. As a result, consumers were frequently transferred to more costly technical support agents requiring more time, resources and cost. Notably, just five percent of those polled consulted the service provider's website for support, indicating that smartphone web self-service resources are underutilized.

Unresolved issues result in a return trip to the retail outlet, or product abandonment: Thirty percent of consumers surveyed returned for customer support to the retail outlet where they purchased their smartphone, and one in three consumers considered returning or exchanging their device due to the inability to resolve issues. Sixty-five percent stated that they prefer self-help alternatives and identified "knowledgeable sales representatives," "faster procedures" and "web-based solutions" as ways to improve their customer service experience.

Opportunity to increase application and service revenue: One out of six consumers were unaware of their smartphone's advanced features or did not know how to use them. More than 70 percent stated that it would have been beneficial for a sales representative to explain all features at the time of purchase. The data suggest that with in-store tutorials or after-sale activities, service providers can drive additional application and data usage.

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