Global Consumer Study Reveals That Customer Service Remains Critical to Profitability

    Is Customer Service Getting Better or Worse? More Than 61 Percent of
    Consumers See Improvements from Three Years Ago, but Key Pockets of
    Frustration Continue

    SAN DIEGO, CA, April 25 /CNW/ - Is customer service getting better or
worse? Despite the conventional wisdom of customer "no- service" as the norm,
over 61 percent of consumers see call centers as doing a better job than three
years ago. An international survey of more than 4,300 consumers found that,
despite some continued pockets of frustration, 23 percent of all consumers
found their experience "significantly better," and an additional 38 percent
felt it was "somewhat better" while only 12 percent thought it was worse.
    In addition, the survey revealed that customer service is a critical
driver of profitability and satisfaction, with more than 75 percent of
consumers saying they would give more business to a company based on a great
contact center experience. And, 50 percent of consumers say the last time they
stopped doing business with a company was partly or wholly due to a poor
customer service experience.
    The survey, which measures consumers likes, dislikes and frustrations
with contact centers and automated customer service systems, was commissioned
by Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Inc., an Alcatel-Lucent company
(Euronext Paris and NYSE:   ALU). Its findings indicate that, while investments
in technology and self-service are starting to pay off, consumers increasingly
want better multi-channel service, through SMS, e-mail and other new media.

    The Biggest Causes of Customer Frustration

    In 2003, Genesys created the pioneer study in customer frustration and
has followed in each of the past four years. Globally, the major sources of
customer frustration are consistent with findings over the past four years:

     -    Long hold times -- 67 percent of consumers are frustrated by long
          hold times, and 88 percent would prefer to receive a call-back in
          10 minutes than to be on hold for that long.
     -    Poor automation -- 57 percent of consumers are frustrated by IVRs
          with too many or incorrect options and 76 percent of consumers feel
          that companies are pushing them to use self-service systems instead
          of talking to live people.
     -    Customer Repetition -- 52 percent of consumers are frustrated by
          having to repeat information they've already provided.

    "Given the direct impact of contact center performance on customer
loyalty," said Wes Hayden, president and CEO of Genesys, "successful companies
must take every opportunity to connect with their customers to create a
positive experience. Customer service is improving, but the expectations of
consumers are going up as well. As the world market becomes more competitive,
the most successful companies are ones that make the best use of every channel
and every interaction. Companies should engage their customers with a well-
planned and executed contact center strategy."
    Survey respondents indicated that a good way to create a positive
experience is to address consumers' basic frustrations. For example, the
survey results indicated that companies can eliminate long hold times by
including a call-back option in their IVR systems. Rather than waiting on
hold, 74 percent of customers would like to have the option to ask for a call
back when they feel the wait would be too long.

    Emerging Trends - SMS, Instant Messaging, e-mail, Proactive Contact

    The hottest new emerging trends in customer service are the desire for
proactive contact and the need for better support for a broader set of
communication channels, such as SMS, web chat and e-mail. When it comes to new
channels, 86 percent of consumers want e-mail communication and more than 45
percent of consumers would like e-mail to become their primary communication
vehicle. Speed of communication is critical, however, with 21 percent
expecting a one hour response time - up from 6 percent with that expectation
in 2003. An additional 17 percent of consumers expect an e-mail response
within 4 hours, and 47 percent within 24 hours. In addition, 19 percent would
like web chat (instant messaging) and 17 percent want SMS text messages.
    Surprisingly, over 89 percent of consumers would like to receive
proactive communications from companies, by phone or text, to keep them
informed about service delivery and/or other products and services that may be
of interest to them. Proactive communications offer a way of creating a
positive image with customers. According to the survey, 87 percent of
customers would have a more positive opinion of a supplier after receiving a
courtesy call to thank them for their business or to ask about their
satisfaction; however, only 43 percent have received such a call.

    Substantial Regional Differences

    While consumers agreed on most core customer service issues, substantial,
regional differences are emerging that offer some of the most striking
findings from the survey.  Europeans are 10 times more likely to want SMS text
messages sent to their mobile phones than Americans (21 percent for Europe
versus 2 percent for the U.S.). Similarly, 19 percent of consumers from Asia
Pacific and 7 percent from Japan also want SMS messages sent to them.
Meanwhile, more than 28 percent of U.S. consumers want instant web chat
capabilities, compared to 19 percent in Europe, 18 percent in APAC and 11
percent in Japan.
    More detailed regional findings are available from Genesys contacts
within each country. To access the U.S. Genesys Customer Experience Survey,
please contact

    About Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Inc.

    Genesys, an Alcatel-Lucent company, is the only company that focuses 100%
on software to manage customer interactions over the phone, web and in e-mail.
The Genesys software suite dynamically connects customers with the right
resources -- self-service or assisted-service -- to fulfill customer requests,
optimize customer care goals and efficiently use resources. Genesys software
directs more than 100 million customer interactions every day for 4,000
companies and government agencies in 80 countries. These companies and
agencies can leverage their entire organization, from the contact center to
the back office, to improve the overall customer experience. As a result,
Genesys helps stop customer frustration, drive efficiency, and accelerate
business innovation. For more information, go to or visit
the industry blog at

    About Alcatel-Lucent

    Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE:   ALU) provides solutions that
enable service providers, enterprises and governments worldwide, to deliver
voice, data and video communication services to end-users. As a leader in
fixed, mobile and converged broadband networking, IP technologies,
applications, and services, Alcatel-Lucent offers the end-to-end solutions
that enable compelling communications services for people at home, at work and
on the move. With operations in more than 130 countries, Alcatel-Lucent is a
local partner with global reach. The company has the most experienced global
services team in the industry, and one of the largest research, technology and
innovation organizations in the telecommunications industry. Alcatel-Lucent
achieved adjusted proforma revenues of Euro 18.3 billion in 2006 and is
incorporated in France, with executive offices located in Paris. [All figures
exclude impact of activities transferred to Thales]. For more information,
visit Alcatel-Lucent on the Internet:

For further information:

For further information: David Radoff of Genesys, (650) 466-1078,, Web Site:

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