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Industry Research Research:
2012 Service & Support Metrics Survey Results conducts an annual survey examining the state of enterprise customer service and support. This year's survey, sponsored by Aptean, was conducted in September 2012 with over 100 respondents. Its results showed increasing demand and complexity in support services, strong growth in knowledge management, continued penetration of online support channels, an upward trend in the use of social media, and the maturity of the Cloud and remote support.

Here are some of the key highlights:

Average speed to answer for phone-based support: A whopping 70.2% answer the phone in 30 seconds or less, nearly double 2011's rate of 37%. At the other end of the spectrum, 7.9% wait more than a minute - less than a third of 2011's rate of 22.8%, but more than twice the 3.2% in 2009.

Average speed to answer for e-mail support: Nearly a third of respondents (30.6%) answer e-mails within one hour, and over three-quarters (75.1%) respond within six hours. Just two respondents (1.9%) state that they take over 24 hours to respond. (This was a new metric surveyed for 2012.)

Average hold time: 65.3% of respondents have hold times of a minute or less, slightly more than 2011's figures of 58%. The percentage of those with no hold time at holds steady at 21.9% this year, while 79.9% pick up within two minutes.

Average abandonment rate: The percentage of respondents with a rate of less than 5% improved from 59% to 65.2% of respondents, with a nearly identical 23.7% experiencing a rate of less than 1%. Just seven respondents had average abandonment rates of over 10%, and only one was over 15%, numbers that are very similar to those of the past two years.

Escalation and FCR: 23.7% of people escalate less than 10% of their transactions to level 2, a substantial decrease from the 30.4% of the past two years, while those needing to escalate more than half of their issues more than doubled from 4.7% in 2011 to 10.8% in 2012. Along similar lines, just over half of respondents (53.3%) measure first-call resolution (FCR) levels

Costs of support transactions: Costs by channel have remained very similar overall to 2011 figures. As with last year, a little more than half (57.3%) of respondents reported costs ranging up to US$24 for phone transactions, with close to 30% reporting average costs of less than US$10 per transaction. For e-mail, over 48.4% kept costs under US $10. Costs of web chat did see median values increase from under US$5 to the $5-9 range in 2012, a sign that more complex transactions were moving to this medium. The percentage of respondents reporting average costs above $24/transaction were 26.6%, 13.7%, and 9.8% for phone, e-mail, and chat/IM respectively, all similar to 2011 figures.

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