Traditional call centre is dead, claims new research

Call centre phone queues, not being able to find information on a company’s website and waiting for email replies are the biggest customer service frustrations amongst British consumers using mobile phone or broadband provider websites, according to an online survey of over 2,000 people, commissioned by nGenera CIM.

In fact, 96% of customers say they would proactively look for a competitor or stop using a company’s website altogether following poor customer service. This is not surprising given that 93% say customer service is either important or very important when using the web.

The research report highlights the importance that web users on mobile phone or broadband provider sites place on help being provided online. Waiting in a call centre queue was considered the biggest frustration with 65% of respondents finding this annoying.

The report also uncovers the preferred methods of seeking assistance when on a website, with email topping the list (32%), followed by using the online FAQ section (25%). Less than one in five (18%) people opt to call the customer services team.

Not surprisingly, there were some startling differences of opinion between the 18 to 24 and 45-plus age groups. As many as 61% of older web users would turn to email or phone for help, compared to just 44% of 18 to 24 year olds. The younger age range were more inclined to contact a company through online chat with just over a fifth saying this was their preferred method, and 22% trying the website’s FAQs. Older website visitors prefer more traditional contact methods, with only 10% of the over 55s turning to chat and 46% choosing to send a company an email, compared to 30% of 18 to 24 year olds.

Matthew Haines, European managing director of nGenera CIM, commented: “It is clear from the research that the customer service landscape is changing. Online channels such as email, web self-service and live chats are quickly overtaking phone as the preferred contact method for UK consumers. This provides an opportunity for companies to deliver fast and effective online customer service, which can be a key differentiator and deliver huge benefits. By establishing these channels, businesses can reduce strain on the call centre, increase agent productivity, reduce costs and ensure consistency and accuracy of messages.

“The younger, internet-savvy generation are very comfortable using new technologies such as live chat and demand rapid, accurate customer service. They are leading a new evolution of customer service, driving communication online, and providing companies with the opportunity to streamline their call centre operations and effectively meet the high levels of service their customers are demanding,” he concluded.

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