According to a recent survey undertaken by the Customer Experience Foundation (CEF) on behalf of Empirix, 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," he said.

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."

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.

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