Blog · 03 Feb 2020

Don’t waste money on contact centre technology your customers won’t use

Our new research looks at trends over time to reveal what consumers really want from their contact centre customer experience.

profile-picture
Digital Solutions Director

Chances are, your vision of the contact centre of the future includes a smoothly running omnichannel set up, with AI taking the lead in transactions. But how close are we to this utopia? Is it what consumers are really looking for?

To be able to answer those questions and plan your contact centre investment, you need the full picture of customer expectations and attitudes. That’s where our global Autonomous Customer research comes in, tracking consumer contact behaviour for ten years now, and giving us the confidence to pull out trends that are here to stay.

Join me, as I use the statistics to explore the five essential contact centre questions you need to be aware of to make smart decisions in 2020.

1. Is the phone call dead?

As early as 2001, experts predicted the death of phone calls to contact centres. An often repeated prediction, consultants said online would hoover up all consumer transactions and some academics said bots would replace all humans in contact centres.

contact centre

Well, our research reveals that the phone call is alive and kicking. Even in this digital age, speaking to an agent on the phone remains the most important form of customer contact. The number of people picking up the phone has remained high in the UK with 74 per cent choosing to call a contact centre in 2019 (against 79 per cent in 2010).

Speaking to an agent is particularly vital for problem solving. What wasn’t anticipated in 2001 was that the growth of e-commerce and digital services would require human support: no matter the channel, when the going gets tough, your customers want to talk to another human being. In fact, the only channel to match the phone in popularity is email, which has slipped slightly from 77 per cent in 2010 to 68 per cent today.

Organisations have tried — with some success — to deflect calls and emails to self-help alternatives over the last 20 years. But, since 2010, more than half of the UK population would pick up the phone to sort a problem rather than check frequently asked questions.

Whitepaper

5 trends in customer experience for 2020

Autonomous Customer 2020
Download full report
Infographic
Download our infographic to get the main findings at a glance
Download our infographic to get the main findings at a glance
Dateigröße: 438KB
Format: PDF
Dateigröße: 438KB
Format: PDF

Chances are, your vision of the contact centre of the future includes a smoothly running omnichannel set up, with AI taking the lead in transactions. But how close are we to this utopia? Is it what consumers are really looking for?

To be able to answer those questions and plan your contact centre investment, you need the full picture of customer expectations and attitudes. That’s where our global Autonomous Customer research comes in, tracking consumer contact behaviour for ten years now, and giving us the confidence to pull out trends that are here to stay.

Join me, as I use the statistics to explore the five essential contact centre questions you need to be aware of to make smart decisions in 2020.

1. Is the phone call dead?

As early as 2001, experts predicted the death of phone calls to contact centres. An often repeated prediction, consultants said online would hoover up all consumer transactions and some academics said bots would replace all humans in contact centres.

contact centre

Well, our research reveals that the phone call is alive and kicking. Even in this digital age, speaking to an agent on the phone remains the most important form of customer contact. The number of people picking up the phone has remained high in the UK with 74 per cent choosing to call a contact centre in 2019 (against 79 per cent in 2010).

Speaking to an agent is particularly vital for problem solving. What wasn’t anticipated in 2001 was that the growth of e-commerce and digital services would require human support: no matter the channel, when the going gets tough, your customers want to talk to another human being. In fact, the only channel to match the phone in popularity is email, which has slipped slightly from 77 per cent in 2010 to 68 per cent today.

Organisations have tried — with some success — to deflect calls and emails to self-help alternatives over the last 20 years. But, since 2010, more than half of the UK population would pick up the phone to sort a problem rather than check frequently asked questions.

0 %
call a contact centre

2. Can AI-powered messaging succeed?

As messaging channels such as WhatsApp and Messenger exploded into use, led by millennials and younger consumers, businesses followed suit and started moving into text-based comms. Customers welcome this development, with 70 per cent saying they like the idea of asking a customer service question using messaging in a voice or text-based chatbot interaction. And messaging within apps — whether with a chatbot or a human — is growing as a channel, up from zero in 2010 to six per cent today.

However, experience with chatbots has led an increasing number (81 per cent) to say humans should be in the loop to check the more complicated responses of chatbots. This means your strategy must smoothly combine the human and the AI for the success of messaging channels to continue. It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on certain sectors, such as UK banking, where success stories are emerging.

0 %
like chatbot interaction

3. Does social media have a future as a contact channel?

In 2010, social media was intent on dominating customer interactions, but has made little headway. The proportion of consumers saying social media is the best way of getting emergency support has declined from 2015, and its role is somewhat negative: the number of consumers using social media to make complaints have jumped from six per cent in 2010 to 25 per cent in 2019, although it does tend to be used by consumers as a last resort.

0 %
increase social media

4. Is new technology the answer to smooth verification and payments?

card transaction

One of the biggest trends over the last ten years is the value consumers place on convenience: 43 per cent of consumers in 2019 said convenience is more important than price, compared to just 28 per cent in 2010.

This demand for convenience combined with an openness to new technology within customer contact means consumers expect contact centres to make identification and payments both secure and easy. However, over the last five years, organisations have been unable to address consumers’ key concerns around the length of time identification takes, the irritation of repeating details, and issues around the security of sharing card details over the phone. In terms of paying by phone alone, a striking 74 per cent of UK consumers today report worries.

Customers expect businesses to step up and use new technologies to sort these issues out, so the pressure is on. 

0 %
convenience vs price

5. Is AI set to dominate the customer contact experience? 

Artificial intelligence

Today’s customer is ready to embrace AI in the contact centre, opening the door to a whole wave of core enabling technology for delivering a great customer experience.

Five years ago, consumers had hardly heard of chatbots and voice activated services. Today, they are an accepted part of contact centre service, with three in four saying the main benefit of an AI-enabled chatbot is getting an immediate response.

However, whilst chatbots have potential, today’s consumers primarily expect organisations to use AI for service-based outbound notifications. Between 2017 and 2019, the number of people saying it would be good if organisations monitored the condition of products and services using AI has risen from 68 per cent to 82 per cent. So, using data analysis to proactively contact consumers about product and service issues or problems could radically improve the return on investment for contact centres.

What does the future hold for your contact centre?

contact centre

Businesses are at a customer contact crossroads, facing some critical decisions about what direction to take.

Discover the insight you need to get your strategy right by downloading our latest white paper, ‘The Autonomous Customer 2020’ and register for our webinar.

Kontakt