Over half (61%) of consumers state they have abandoned an enquiry or purchase in the last 12 months because of a failure to achieve a successful resolution with an automated service, according to a new survey from UK contact centre, The Listening Company.
The survey, conducted by YouGov, aimed to uncover consumers’ views of the automated services offered by brands and reveals that the majority of consumers (42%) rated their last experience with a self-serve facility as only ‘average’. Whilst 16% of consumers thought the service offered was ‘poor’.
The Listening Company’s survey quizzed consumers on their views at a time when more and more brands are investing in self-serve with a view to reducing operating costs. The research reveals:
A successful resolution (39%) is the most important overall factor for consumers when using a self-serve facility, with consumers aged 18-24 years, valuing speed of response as the most important factor.
Some 41% of consumers stated they would feel more confident if offered help from a brand representative, with self-serve systems.
Company websites (70%) are identified as the most popular tool for consumers researching a product or service prior to making an online purchase. This is followed by comparison sites (48%) and friend/family/colleague recommendations (40%).
When questioned about the primary role of a company’s website, brand representatives felt that consumers used websites to source product information (50%) or make an online purchase (50%). However consumers consider the provision of ‘product information’ (59%) the primary role of a company’s website.
Half of respondents (50%) say they would feel more confident in switching to use a self-serve facility unaided if they had initially been assisted by a company representative.
In addition, the majority of consumers (50%) think that the option of emailing a company representative would add most value to enable a successful resolution when using a self serve facility. For consumers aged 25-34 years, web chat is the most valued facility (31%).
“The internet and converging technology is changing the way we, as consumers, behave and communicate,” said Director of Communications, The Listening Company , Philip Shuldham-Legh.
“Whilst there is still some debate about whether the technology drives the behaviour or vice versa, one thing is clear: this choice is making us more demanding and less loyal to brands, and this is something companies must respond to.”
He added, “No longer can brands dictate how they speak to consumers; it should now be a question of choice, offering consumers a variety of channels through which they can contact a brand.
“What’s more, brands need to use all customer touch points to educate consumers about the benefits of convenient self-service without forcing them to use it.”
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