Telephone Services v. Face-to-Face Services

Around one-half of all the contacts made by the public with NSW Government services in December 2008 were by telephone.  This includes telephone services that connected with a person and the use of automated telephones (for bill-paying and other purposes).

There are significant differences between the factors that drive satisfaction and dissatisfaction with services provided over the telephone compared with services that are provided face-to-face with customers.

Figure 8 shows the four elements that affect customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction with telephone services.

“Ease of access” is the most significant element of a service that contributes to customer “delight” in telephone services, along with privacy and short completion times.

“Fairness” is the driver of customer dissatisfaction with telephone services.

Figure 8: Telephone contact - key drivers

Figure 8: Service elements affecting Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction – Face-to-face Services

Source: Customer Satisfaction Survey of NSW Government Services, IPSOS-Eureka, December 2008

Figure 9 shows the 12 elements that affect levels of customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction with in-person (or face-to-face) services. 

In-person services tend to be complex, ongoing and multiple services that require more communication skills than telephone or transaction services. 

Face-to-face services, for example, are influenced not just by what a service provider says but also by their body language, appearance, the level of privacy felt by the customer and the appearance of the office and surroundings where the service is provided.

The two main factors that contribute to customer delight with face-to-face services are having information that is easy to understand and appropriate completion times.  They are closely followed by the reliability and cleanliness of the service.

The two equal contributors to customer dissatisfaction with face-to-face services are the efficiency of the service and the time taken to complete the service.  Other factors, such as poor handling of customer problems, will also contribute strongly to customer dissatisfaction.

Figure 9: In-person contact - key drivers

Figure 9: Service elements affecting Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction – Metropolitan Customers

Source: Customer Satisfaction Survey of NSW Government Services, IPSOS-Eureka, December 2008