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Industry Research : Digital Self-Service Now More Popular Than Calling Customer Service

#contactcenterworld, @realwire

60% of UK household water and energy customers prefer not to call customer service if they can use online tools to solve their problems, according to Macro 4 research.

Most consumers are ready to swap customer service calls for digital self-service in the wake of their experience during the pandemic, according to new survey findings released by Macro 4. The research, which examines UK consumer attitudes to household energy and water suppliers, suggests that 61 per cent of customers have become more comfortable interacting with companies digitally since the pandemic, on websites, apps and other online channels. And 60 per cent would now prefer not to call a live customer service person at all if they can solve their issues themselves using online resources.

When asked what aspects of service are important in a household energy or water supplier, 72 per cent of the 1,000–plus survey respondents said they now want utilities to provide online resources that make it easy to resolve their questions themselves rather than having to use the phone. 93 per cent said it was important[1] that they are able to contact their supplier in whatever way they prefer – such as by phone, email, social media, text or messaging apps. And 93 per cent stressed the importance of getting a quick response whether they call or make contact digitally.

Macro 4, a division of UNICOM(R) Global that helps enterprises accelerate digital transformation, commissioned two separate surveys of over 1,000 household utility bill payers in the UK. The results are published in a report, ‘Giving UK Utility Customers A Voice’.

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Jim Allum, Director, Commercial and Technical at Macro 4, said: "During COVID-19 restrictions, we all got used to doing more things digitally. And for many people that would have included resorting to online self-service since most contact centers at the time were experiencing significant delays due to soaring call volumes. What’s interesting is that the habit has stuck. The majority of people are now happy to use self-service instead of speaking to a customer service person on the phone – especially for simple queries. One positive of helping customers to do more for themselves is that it frees up hard-pressed contact center agents to handle more complex queries by phone, chat or email, and this is where companies can add real value. And it should also mean shorter wait times for those people who do need to speak by phone."

Questions related to bills and charges often trigger calls to the contact center and this was one of the specific gripes identified by the research. 31 per cent of energy customers and 26 per cent of water customers in the survey sample want their current suppliers’ bills to be easier to understand[2]. And 73 per cent regularly check their energy and water bills for mistakes[3].

Allum said, "Self-service can play an important role by providing reassurance and clarity surrounding bills and how they are calculated. For example, if customers are given self-service access to detailed historical information, as well as basic analysis facilities to compare their own billing and usage rates over time, they can rule out any anomalies for themselves."

Further underlining consumers’ growing preference for digital resources and interaction, nearly two thirds of the customers questioned in the survey believe it’s more convenient to view all of their household bills online rather than on paper.

Allum added, "Ditching paper altogether is not yet an option, however, since nearly a third of the people we asked still want paper bills. This research highlights the importance of building flexibility into your communication systems so that you can personalize your service to meet the needs of different customers. It’s all about delivering a consistently great experience across every communication channel."

#contactcenterworld, @realwire


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Today's Tip of the Day - Auto Attendant Options

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Monday, March 28, 2022

Printer Friendly Version Printer friendly version

2022 Buyers Guide Call Routing Optimization

 
1.) 
Eastwind Communications

Eastwind sells Oracle, Ribbon, and Dialogic SBC and routing solutions for both premise-based and cloud-based deployments along with Microsoft Teams integration. Eastwind offers managed service offerings and complete 7x24 support.

2.) 
Lieber & Associates

Call Routing and Contact Center Optimization
L&A provides consulting services to optimize contact centers, including call routing, skills-based routing, and multi-location routing. The firm's senior consultants have several decades of experience each in this area and work with all vendors' systems. L&A's president pioneered skills-based routing.

3.) 
OpsTel Services

SPEED
The SPEED solution solves for service level issues while cost optimizing the environment with automation.

Provides an enhanced way to speed up & optimize invoking temporary agent skills configuration changes into the contact center environment.

Speed allows you to schedule both future changes & temporary changes that auto-revert back to the original state when scheduled time expires.

Speed features:

*Automated / Scheduled Temporary Agent Skills Configuration Management
*Immediate Temporary or Reoccurring Schedule Skills Configuration Changes
*Easy to Use/Operations Administration Focused
*Descriptive Monitoring Activity Dashboard
*Detailed “End to End’ Audit Trail and Performance Monitoring
 

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