Government contact center satisfaction flat, below private sector

ANN ARBOR — A new report from Ann Arbor’s CFI Group shows that customer satisfaction with government contact centers is unchanged from 2017 and remains below satisfaction with private-sector contact centers.

CFI officials say that to improve, government contact centers must learn how to integrate the role of the contact center into an increasingly complex customer service experience.

The 2018 Government Contact Center Satisfaction Index (GCCSI) is 68, as measured on a 0-100 scale, unchanged from 2017 and 3 percent below the private sector.

Scores for the five drivers of government contact center satisfaction — effectiveness, empowerment, knowledge, demeanor, and communication — are also relatively unchanged and 3 to 7 percent below private sector scores.

The challenge government contact centers face is that agents are no longer expected simply to answer questions, but understand all aspects of available customer service channels. To understand the complete customer experience, government agencies need to measure across all three channels of the customer service experience — digital properties, automatic interactions, and live agents.

Digital Properties can include websites, mobile apps, or other sites managed by the agency. Agencies should view and measure digital properties as part of overall customer service. Customers mostly turn to the agency’s website to self serve, but 20 percent try other websites, such as group forums or pages from a search result about an issue, and 8 percent even use the agency mobile app. These digital property visits have an impact on the interaction customers have with customer service agents.

Automated Interactions use new artificial intelligence technologies are changing how customers will self-serve — automated interactions such as interactive voice response or chatbots. The report shows that customers are not looking for self-serve options when they call on the phone — they want to speak with a live agent who can help them quickly. The customer satisfaction score for the 43 percent of callers who get connected directly to a live agent is 77. For the 57 percent who reach an IVR, the satisfaction score is a much lower 62, due in part to the effort required to get past the IVR and get to a live person.

As for live agents, despite the continued growth of multi-channel contact centers, a voice phone call still dominates as the customer’s channel of choice. A full 80 percent of customers who contact customer service do so over the phone. Obviously, the heavy use of phone for customer service does not mean that contact centers can neglect other channels, since 24 percent use email, with ever-increasing expectations on response times, and 17 percent use an online form to initiate the contact. And 5 percent use online chat feature, a number that we expect to continue to grow in 2018.

To read more about the Government Contact Center Satisfaction Index (GCCSI) report by CFI Group, visit www.cfigroup.com.

Founded in Ann Arbor in 1988, CFI Group is founding partner of the American Customer Satisfaction Index, and is the only company in the United States licensed to apply customized ACSI methodology in the federal government.

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