Research Reveals Preferred Customer Service Channels in the U.K.


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New research has found that U.K. consumers don’t value a wholesale approach to customer service in the contact center and instead want different types and levels of technology involvement depending on the nature of interactions and their seriousness. The conclusions come from a report commissioned by Avaya and Sabio, a U.K. contact center solutions provider which surveyed 2,000 UK consumers.

The results show that businesses are missing an opportunity to gain competitive advantage through their strategic approach to customer service. Consumers want more stringent technology and automation for more sensitive interactions, but not for all of them. For example, 81 percent said they are comfortable using IVR systems when dealing with financial matters, while 55 percent of respondents would be happy using voice biometric technology when checking their account balance. But only a minority (35 percent) see biometrics as an option for more general and less sensitive tasks such as renewing car insurance.

Similarly, while consumers’ enthusiasm for self-service and new media remains strong, they still appreciate personal interactions with agents to get support and assistance when dealing with more complex services and products. With 60 percent of organisations now asking for security details when there is no need, one in two consumers become frustrated with call center agents when there are security or identity problems.  Once connected, if the transaction involves payment, only 5 percent of consumers think speaking to an agent in a U.K. call center is secure, and this falls to just 2 percent for overseas call centers.

“There is still a very strong role for voice in the contact center as it offers unrivalled versatility in solving complex queries and a key gateway for those who are not online--- nearly 20 percent of the U.K. population,” said Simon Culmer, managing director, U.K., Avaya, in a statement. “That said, technical solutions to address concerns about fraud and data security are also critical. In essence, U.K. businesses need to listen to their customers, assess their corporate requirements and look at the demands being placed on them through their customer service channels, and from there determine the right strategy and solutions to meet their customer service needs.”

“Organizations are clearly experiencing real friction between their demanding compliance processes and an ongoing commitment to providing consumers with a positive customer experience,” said Kenneth Hitchen, founding director, Sabio, in a statement. “The good news is that the two goals aren’t mutually incompatible. Our role is to apply technologies such as voice biometrics, speech analytics and PCI payment solutions to help achieve the dual goals of increased compliance and reduced customer frustration. Applied correctly, these technologies can help organizations tick both boxes.”