UK companies are concentrating too much on internet interaction

Invomo has announced the findings of its research into the views of customers on self serve and agent based service.

The research was conducted to find out what UK customers thought about the service they receive. The overall findings are that many customers prefer human interaction with the companies they deal with.

When it comes to judging a company, consumers value service above all other factors. They expect to be provided with what has been promised to them conveniently and quickly. Companies try to meet these needs in different ways using web services, automated services and software applications to improve the efficiency of call centre agents, but what does the customer think?

The findings of this research show that companies that do not include telephony in their customer service options suffer from customers giving up at an early stage of their interaction with the company. Customers want to be given a choice in how they interact with the brands they want to buy. Unifying web and telephone services seems the way to go as far as the consumer is concerned.

Online ordering on the web is now commonplace, but a high number of customers still have genuine reasons for wanting to make direct contact with a company to make a purchase. Our research shows that 39% of consumers prefer to make their purchase using the supplier’s call centre rather than buying online. This finding reveals that companies that rely too much on their web presence and neglect the customer phone call will and do suffer.

Detailed analysis shows that; two thirds of callers wanted more specific information before making their purchase; a third had difficulties with online ordering processes; more than a quarter were more confident of ordering through a call centre than online and 20% found it more convenient to call than using the internet. Customer service is about more than ‘migrating online’ in the same way that it was not all about off-shoring call centres 5 years ago. What is also revealing is the detail of the ‘more information’ they felt they needed – many want to strike better deals and get extras. It may be the hangover from the holiday season, where UK holiday makers visit countries where haggling is a way of life, or our new credit crunch habit of comparing prices before we buy, but companies and marketing directors ignore this trend in customer power at their peril.

Nick Wiley, CEO of Invomo, said: “Companies that only have a web strategy for servicing orders could be missing out on a significant proportion of business.

Making sure customers don’t have to hunt the length and breadth of a web site for a contact number and offering a ‘call me back’ option could be a good start to reduce lost orders. Looking beyond short term fixes, how many companies’ web and call centre operations are gearing up to customers who want their suppliers to really earn their loyalty and have faith in their own ability to deal with these street wise callers?”

Telephony-based automated systems can provide a simple way of completing quick transactions. Overall, consumers say they find them convenient, as six of the seven examples of automated services were rated as convenient or better. The system ranked most useful was ‘Using an automated service to request information or a brochure,’ closely followed by ‘entering a competition’ and a service which tell you ‘where is your nearest store?’

Invomo’s research findings of 3,000 consumers looks into how well organisations are understanding their channels to market and getting the ‘service’ right. The research will help organisations appreciate when the human touch is preferable to self-service, attitudes to automation, concerns over security and what a good and bad experience looks like today. To get your copy click the link below.

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