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05 Jun 2012

One in four e-mail queries comes to nothing at contact centres

Response check reveals gaps in e-mail communication

Processes are not coping with rising number of contact channels

Contact centres weak in e-mail customer service   
contact centres in Germany are neglecting their e-mail-based customer service. A quarter of all enquiries through this channel remain unanswered. And more than half of companies are not managing to respond to simple queries on the same day. There is often a lack of automated processes that provide real support to contact centre staff. These are the results of a response analysis by novomind.

Mail order companies demonstrate the best response rate   
The most reliable e-mail customer service is offered by mail order companies, car rental businesses and Internet portals such as property search engines and online auction platforms. They manage to answer nine out of ten e-mails. “Companies in these industries generate most or even all of their sales through electronic sales channels such as the Internet. This means they have the necessary processes and technology to guarantee consistently good service through digital contact channels,” says Sylvia Feja, Head of eCommunication at novomind. But at insurers and telecommunications companies, the interplay between processes, technology and staff is proving unable to cope with new demands for fast yet reliable customer communication. It is companies in these industries that most often let enquiries go unanswered.

Automated aids hardly used   
Banks are the quickest to respond to e-mail enquiries. Sixty per cent of bank customers receive an answer the same day, while the average bank customer waits 1.1 days for a response. By comparison, the average waiting time is around three days at insurers and power supply companies. Banks are the best at differentiating between simple standard questions – such as a request for the latest price list – and more complex matters, and prioritising accordingly. “Generally speaking, companies do not appear to pre-sort enquiries. Many contact centres clearly allocate the same priority to all incoming e-mail. Automated aids that evaluate e-mails according to their content and speed up the answering process by suggesting responses are used only by a minority,” says Sylvia Feja at novomind.

Background information    
Customer communication was examined at the highest-turnover companies within several industries as part of the 2012 Response Analysis conducted by novomind. These included banks, insurance companies, mail order companies, power suppliers, car rental businesses, airlines, telecommunication providers and Internet portals. A total of 122 German businesses were tested. Each of them was sent five different service enquiries in the months of December and January via two contact channels (e-mail and a Facebook contact form) – where available – and these enquiries covered subjects such as product and pricing lists and when more in-depth advice could be had by telephone. About a week later, the enquiries were sent again by a different sender.

novomind AG
Since 1999, Hamburg company novomind has been developing innovative e-business solutions for the modern Internet world in four e-business disciplines: e-commerce (e-shops and zoom server), PIM (product information management), e-marketplace (marketplace integration) and e-communication (solutions for contact and service centres).

novomind is a European technology leader in every service segment and covers the whole digital value-adding chain in retail and electronic customer communication.

The Hamburg-based software house is the fastest growing company in the fields of electronic customer communication and mail management (e-communications). With the two product lines novomind iAGENT and novomind Self Service Solutions, businesses now have the opportunity to integrate all of their communication channels into one system.

novomind AG is currently assisting more than 80 companies including Targobank, Der Club Bertelsmann, Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund, Ernsting’s family, EnBW, OTTO, QVC and Sixt.