When asked, 37% of respondents said other options weren’t convenient, or an alternative wasn’t available (16%), or they didn’t know other options existed, and 14% said other options failed to address their concern. While 37% of respondents said they would have preferred a digital channel – such as a virtual assistant or webchat - 10% said their preference would have been a ‘bricks and mortar’ retail outlet.
The survey provides insight from the frontlines of customer care, suggesting that more research and development is needed for customer care before it works, said Christine Landry, communications industry leader, Xerox. She said the traditional call centre is still the first choice of almost half of callers (49%) who want to lodge a complaint with their telecoms provider.
In the survey, respondents named more than 188 separate brands who provide telephony, mobile and Internet service.
“Often perceived as the ‘silver bullet’ of customer care, many telecoms operators haven’t quite got the hang of deploying digital support in a cost effective and convenient way,” said Landry. “And we suspect that this is happening beyond telecoms customers.”
One in five telecoms consumers still prefer bricks and mortar retail outlets for brand interaction with nearly a third (32%) of sign-up activity still being performed in store.
The Xerox survey, which contacted 6,000 consumers across the media, telecoms, and technology sectors in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and the Netherlands, about their attitudes to customer care, found that telecoms customers were the most dissatisfied of all (26% were highly dissatisfied compared to 24% for media brands and 15% for technology brands).
Furthermore, dissatisfaction with telecoms brands was found to increase with the number of brand interactions, such as inquiries and complaints.
“While customer interactions present an opportunity to nurture high satisfaction, telecoms operators are simply frustrating customers with prolonged customer care inquiries through channels they would often ideally prefer not to use,” said Landry. “The only way to reduce reliance on traditional, more expensive channels is for telecoms operators and other consumer segments to provide improved digital channels, like webchat.”