SOURCE: Aspect Software

December 01, 2005 08:30 ET

Aspect Contact Center Satisfaction Index Reveals Opportunity for Companies to Better Meet Consumer Expectations

First Annual Aspect Index Shows Considerable Gaps Between Consumer Expectations and Contact Center Performance

WESTFORD, MA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- December 1, 2005 -- Aspect Software, Inc., the world's largest company solely focused on the contact center, and Leo J. Shapiro and Associates, one of the nation's premier market research companies, today announced the results of the inaugural Aspect Contact Center Satisfaction Index™, the first and only published independent survey of consumer experience versus expectations of contact center interactions in North America.

"Contact center managers are constantly trying to assess their success. We created the Aspect Index to provide the insight, backed by the hard data, to really understand what consumers demand and deserve when they call, chat, or email for service and sales," said Mike Sheridan, vice president of strategy and marketing at Aspect Software. "As the balance of power continues to shift from businesses to consumers, we believe the companies that have a firm understanding of consumers' desires have the opportunity to truly differentiate themselves from their competitors."

The Aspect Index measures the quality of consumers' telephone and Internet interactions with companies and their representatives. The survey takes into consideration 27 qualities across three categories:

--  Empathy and Advocacy -- the human aspect of customer interactions,
    such as patience, knowledge, professionalism, and friendliness.
--  Efficiency -- the overall quality and speed of the experience
    including being able to quickly speak with an agent, authority to resolve
    issues, and clear connection.
--  Automation -- explores ease-of-use of technologies like automated
    menus, multiple contact choices, and access of contact information from
    website.
    
Based on the findings of the Aspect Index, applying an "A through F" report card measurement tool, contact centers are performing on average at a D+ (69.6) level according to consumers.

Patricia Seybold, CEO of The Patricia Seybold Group and an expert on the customer experience, said, "Contact centers are still being evaluated on cost per call, rather than percentage of single call resolution; on efficiency of call-handling rather than on reducing the time-to-connect to a knowledgeable person; and on professionalism, rather than knowledge about the customer's context and situation. When will executives realize that providing a D+ customer experience on the phone does permanent damage to their brand?"

"The results are quite important because they expose information that could be a considerable risk for companies who do not recognize the challenge before them or choose not to acknowledge it. Similarly, companies that understand and appreciate that there is a gap between what they deliver and what consumers expect have an enormous opportunity. With the Aspect Index they have the facts to back up implementing specific customer contact strategies," said Sheridan.

Key Findings of the Aspect Contact Center Satisfaction Index

Using a combination of telephone and online methods, the Aspect Index surveyed more than 1,000 consumers and 150 contact center professionals on 27 topics including knowledge of agents, the ability to speak with a person without a long delay and ease of access to a person from an automated menu. The Aspect Index found that, overall, contact center professionals believe they are performing better than consumers believe them to be and they are underestimating consumer expectations, while also not satisfying them.

Some of the key findings include:

--  23 percent of consumers feel that contact center interactions fall
    short of their expectations
--  Contact center managers overestimate consumer satisfaction with their
    performance with 90 percent believing they meet or exceed consumer
    expectations, but only 77 percent of consumers agree
--  Contact centers received a C- (72%) for consumer satisfaction across
    the valued people-related measures of Empathy and Advocacy
--  Consumers rate their experience with the Efficiency of contact centers
    with an overall D grade (66%)
--  Consumers rate their experience with contact center Automation as a D-
    grade (61%)
--  The telephone is still king with 79 percent of consumer interactions
    taking place via this channel
--  While only 18 percent of customer interactions happen via email, 82
    percent of them met or exceeded customer expectations, the highest
    satisfaction rate of any channel
--  24.7 percent of interactions with telecommunications companies fell
    short of consumer expectations, while 18.1 percent of retail company
    interactions and 18.9 percent of financial company interactions fell short
    
"The Aspect Index reveals the true extent of the disconnect between what customers care about and what contact centers are resourced to provide," added Seybold. "Contact centers need to take notice that customers want you to answer their inquiry and let them speak to a knowledgeable person quickly, address their needs in a single interaction, know who they are, in short, show them you value their business!"

About the Aspect Contact Center Index

The Aspect Index™ is based on responses from more than 1,000 consumers and 150 contact center decision-makers across North America who responded to the first annual independent survey from Aspect Software and Leo J. Shapiro and Associates. It is the only published measure of experience versus expectation of contact center interactions in North America. The Aspect Index measures the attitudes of consumers and contact center professionals about the quality of consumer interactions with companies via telephone, email and online chats. It expresses, in a single "grade," the responses to a survey conducted by an independent research firm that covered more than 27 measures relating to contact center interactions and related technologies and their application.

About Leo J. Shapiro and Associates

Leo J. Shapiro and Associates is one of the nation's premier market research companies with more than 50 years of experience across a wide range of industries. Leo J. Shapiro and Associates has been behind a variety of indexes that measure consumer behaviors and attitudes including retail customer service satisfaction, significant consumer trends, grocery store shopping and others. Learn more about Leo J. Shapiro and Associates at www.ljs.com.

About Aspect Software

Aspect Software, Inc., the founder of the contact center industry, is the only company 100 percent focused on providing proven, innovative products and services that enable key business processes including customer service, collections, and sales and telemarketing for in-house and outsourced contact centers. Each day, companies around the globe conduct more than 125 million customer interactions using Aspect Software's flexible, reliable solutions for automatic call distribution (ACD), predictive dialing, workforce management, analytics, IVR and multi-channel contact. Headquartered in Westford, Mass., Aspect Software has operations across the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia Pacific. For more information, visit www.aspect.com.

Note: Aspect Software, Aspect Contact Center Index and Aspect Index are trademarks of Aspect Software, Inc; all other trademarks or tradenames are the property of their respective owners. Patent Pending.

Contact Information

  • For more information, please contact:
    Aleassa Schambers
    630 227 7969
    Jennifer Stroud
    615 473 8617
    Aspect Software Public Relations