The UK lags behind international markets including Germany, Singapore and UAE in making it easy for customers to interact with large organisations. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of UK consumers have expressed frustration at how difficult it is, when interacting with an organisation, to switch from one means of communication to another without having to start the process over again. This represents an increase in dissatisfaction of 11% since 2015 and outpaces the frustration felt by global consumers (62%), showing that the UK lags the world in satisfaction with customer experience in this area.
This finding is just one of the key factors that have led four-fifths of UK consumers (80%) to say organisations should be making customer contact easier. This trend is revealed today in a new global research report released today by Avaya Holdings Corp. (NYSE: AVYA) and Davies Hickman Partners. The two companies have been independently tracking the changing customer attitudes when interacting with large organisations since 2010. The latest research polled 8,000 consumers across Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, the UAE and the UK.
An AI-Powered Future
Three-quarters (75%) of UK consumers express that they want an immediate response when dealing with organisations, a trend which helps to explain increasing demand for AI-powered services. This trend is matched by global customer demand for instant responses (79%).
However, while organisations across a range of sectors have started adopting chatbots, virtual agents and new forms of AI to digitally power their customer service, there are notable differences in how willing UK consumers are to embrace some of the latest channels to communicate with organisations compared to their peers in other markets.
The majority of UK consumers are embracing the growing use of chatbots, with over half (51%) saying that they prefer for their questions to be answered by chatbot with AI while they are shopping online or using an app. And nearly a third (32%) say they would prefer a working chatbot powered by AI to a human customer service agent.
Voice Assistants & Video Chat
Nearly two-thirds (60%) of UK consumers like the idea of using a smart speaker to identify their voice to speed up customer service calls, but only 27% of UK consumers would like to actually use their smart speaker to get customer service. This is almost half of the global average of 50%, indicating that UK consumers are more hesitant to adopt the latest technologies organisations are implementing to empower their customers.
This is similarly reflected in UK consumers’ appetite for using video chat for customer service. While almost half (48%) of UK consumers say they would like to use video on calls to organisations to see the contact centre agent, discuss complex issues and watch demos, this enthusiasm still trails behind other markets, who are generally more in favour of using video for customer service (62%).
UK Consumers Are Privacy Aware
The reluctance of UK consumers to adopt new voice and video channels when compared with their global peers, appears to be driven in part by wariness of the privacy and security implications.
Marcus Hickman, Co-Founder at Davies Hickman Partners explains: “Our research reveals a number of instances of UK and German consumers showing more conservatism in embracing the latest technology when compared with their global counterparts. For example, two-thirds of UK consumers like the idea of using voice analytics or biometrics, with their voice acting like a fingerprint to authenticate them. But this lags behind international demand from nearly three-quarters of global consumers.”
“And perhaps most tellingly, the majority of UK consumers say they wouldn’t use video chat unless they had brushed their hair, so privacy and self-consciousness is clearly a consideration too.”
Time for ‘SuperService’
Ioan MacRae, UK&I Managing Director at Avaya says: “Today’s report reveals consumers’ growing demand for ‘SuperServe’ organisations – those that go above and beyond typical levels of service to anticipate and act upon customer requests. SuperService is becoming a key demand among UK consumers. We have conducted this research biennially since 2010, and this year’s results shows that customers will remain loyal to organisations that provide outstanding customer service across every channel and make communication easy.”
“Based on our findings, the path to becoming a SuperServe organisation involves taking on four key considerations. The first, and most obvious, is that SuperServe organisations will provide easy and immediate responses to customer queries across any channel. Secondly, they’ll re-think the self-service model by implementing new technologies that empower customers, rather than offload work onto them. They will also augment new channels with AI and predictive analytics. Finally, SuperServe organisations will extend the stellar customer experience to the entire enterprises, meaning employees are just as empowered as the customers they’re serving.”