Global Research reveals major gaps between C-Level executives and customer service professionals

Wokingham, May 21, 2008 - When it comes to aligning the executive suite with the customer service organisation, there is a significant gap between what C-level executives promise and what customer service organisations see, according to the results of a comprehensive worldwide survey. Titled "The Executive Disconnect: The Strategic Alignment of Customer Service," the survey takes an in-depth look at businesses across key regions worldwide, with detailed data for major markets in Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific.  

To provide perspective on the issue, Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Inc., an Alcatel-Lucent company (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) surveyed a group of C-level executives (CEO/CIO/CFO/CTO), and compared their responses to the customer-centric professionals who are much closer to the front lines (Contact Centre Managers/Directors of Customer Care/Sales Managers and Directors/Marketing Directors).

The research, which covers 47 countries and 927 participating companies, was commissioned by Genesys to better understand the challenges in strategically aligning customer service with the business goals of the company. The participants were comprised of senior C-level titles and management contributors from a variety of markets, including financial services, telecommunications, healthcare, government, retail, manufacturing, technology, and education. Approximately one-third of the participants were from companies with 500 agents or less, while another third were from very large organisations with 2,500 agents or more. The size of companies' customer service operations ranged from under 100 to more than 10,000 employees, and respondents included more than 1,500,000 contact centre agents, as well as back office, branch, and field level support professionals.

The survey found a significant gap between C-level perceptions and the reality experienced by most of their customers. Here are a few highlights:
  • Strategic vs. Operational Role - Customer care professionals and executives overwhelmingly agree that customer service impacts the company's brand identity, yet very few think their customer service acts mainly as a strategic function
  • Only 20 per cent of CEO-level executives and 20 per cent of customer care professionals say their contact centres are very strategic
  • Both groups agree that customer service is key to brand identity - with 92 per cent of C-level executives and 85 per cent of customer-centric employees agreeing
  • But C-level executives (73 per cent) overestimate the effort in their companies to measure customer lifetime value, compared to a smaller number of customer-level employees (60 per cent)
  • Measuring Revenue and Customer Experience vs. Speed and Efficiency - Most C-level executives underestimate the emphasis their organisation places on efficiency, and overestimate how easy their organisation makes it for customers to purchase during interactions
  • For example, 55 per cent of C-level executives believe their operations use average speed to answer as a critical metric, compared to 70 per cent of customer service professionals. On a worldwide basis 67 per cent of all organisations considered this a key metric
  • Among C-level executives, 41 per cent think they measure the experience in self-service by quality rather than just cost savings, but only 35 per cent of customer service professionals think so
  • At the same time, 36 per cent of C-level executives think their customer service is measured on revenue per call, when in reality only 28 per cent of customer service professionals validate that notion. Among global respondents 30 per cent say they measure revenue per call
  • Capturing Customer Feedback - There is a major (16 per cent) gap between C-level execs who believe they are capturing important customer feedback, and the views of customer service professionals
  • While 78 per cent of C-level execs think their company is doing a good job of collecting information on customer and market needs and passing it on to sales, only 62 per cent of customer service professionals agree
  • Interestingly, on a regional basis, Germany is the leader, as 75 per cent of companies have processes for systematically passing on customer feedback, followed by Asia, France and Spain at 74 per cent
  • Finding a Cure - On a positive note many companies have already implemented or plan to initiate priority projects over next 18 months, to address misalignment
  • More than 28 per cent of the companies surveyed have or will add "click for a call back" capability, and in Germany a surprising 54 per cent of companies say they will or do support it
  • To support proactive business management, nearly 30 per cent of those surveyed plan to enable information consoles to provide real-time views that leverage customer data across the entire enterprise
  • And 36 per cent of companies worldwide plan to improve visibility into customer processes by identifying the root causes behind customer interactions and behaviors through analytics
  • Leveraging the Entire Organisation - There are two significant areas of investment that are helping companies become more dynamic - extending customer service to branch offices and virtualisation
  • Over 28 per cent of the companies surveyed are already moving to incorporate branch offices to expand the pool of resources available during high volume periods
  • Regionally, the UK is the leader, where 39 per cent of companies are doing so followed by Spain at 38 per cent.
  • Nearly 40 per cent of contact centres worldwide are currently virtualising by operating multiple contact centres as a single entity, or plan to do so
  • Asia Pacific and the UK are the leaders in this, with 49 per cent and 50 per cent of companies respectively virtualising
Genesys released the aggregate results today, and regional drill-down results will be released separately via individual reports for selected countries. The survey was conducted between April 1 and May 9, 2008 for Genesys by an independent research firm, Equation Research.

A complete copy of the research is available upon request by visiting

About Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Inc.
Genesys, an Alcatel-Lucent company, is the only company that focuses 100 per cent 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, optimise 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 organisation, from the contact centre 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, enterprise 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 organisations in the telecommunications industry. Alcatel-Lucent achieved revenues of Euro 17.8 billion in 2007 and is incorporated in France, with executive offices located in Paris. For more information, visit Alcatel-Lucent on the Internet:

Media Contact:
Duncan Burford, PR for Genesys, 01780 721 433,

Issuers of news releases, not Targetwire, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.