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Survey Reveals Contact Centre Employees’ Experience as Consumers and the Move to Upselling and Cross-Selling in the Contact Centre

  • 70% of consumers across the U.S. and U.K. prefer to use a combination of channels simultaneously to find answers.

  • 77% of contact centre employees say they sometimes or nearly always upsell and cross-sell when resolving support requests.

  • Over 40% of U.K.-based contact centre employees are not offered resources to help deal with burnout or mental health.

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 centre employees in the U.S. and U.K. about their experience as consumers and their experience working in customer service. The survey explores how consumers seek out information and connect with the contact centre, the transformation of the contact centre into a revenue centre, the tools agents want in their tech stack, and contact centre 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 access to mental health resources.

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Consumers Want to Self-Serve; Picking Up the Phone Is a Last Resort

When an issue arises, consumers’ first move is to find the answers themselves. More than two-thirds of respondents said they will look for information before contacting customer support. 62% of U.K. respondents prefer to use a combination of channels simultaneously while looking for an answer, compared to 78% of U.S. respondents who said the same.

By the time customers connect with contact centre representatives, they’ve likely exhausted their options across multiple channels. Nearly half of respondents across the U.S. and U.K. 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 all respondents identified upselling and cross-selling as “part of their job” and nearly 80% of respondents 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 an agent recommends.

The survey also shows that 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 centre is tasked not only with delighting customers to foster loyalty, there’s also an additional remit to drive revenue and transform from cost centre to revenue centre.

Consumers Want Efficiency and Ease; Employees Want Employers to Invest in Tech

The contact centre has the power to drive best-in-class customer experience while creating revenue—but only if employees have the technology to solve problems quickly and offer additional products or services that consumers didn’t realize they wanted. More than a quarter of U.K. employees say they either have too many tools to be efficient or too few to do their work effectively.

The majority of respondents identified internal chat as a valuable tool, followed closely by personalisation. However, these tools don’t consistently perform well across organisations. Almost a third of respondents said that tools like internal chat and AI voice solutions don’t work well for them. Companies must invest in technology that can deliver measurable results for the contact centre and not just be an additional window, chat box, or search bar for agents to navigate around.

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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 across the U.S. and U.K. 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 centre. 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 centre employee experience can create compounding value across the entire organisation to drive customer satisfaction, increase revenue, and support happy employees.”

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Only 13% of U.K. 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 centre 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 centres.
  • 70% of U.K. respondents say they sometimes or usually purchase items and services recommended by a customer service agent.

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