Home Page ContentPress Releases UK Consumers Show Appetite for “Channel” Surfing, According to Convergys Research

UK Consumers Show Appetite for “Channel” Surfing, According to Convergys Research

by david.nunes

(Cincinnati & London; October 18, 2010) – (EON: Enhanced Online News)– When asked what channels they most prefer for customer service, UK consumers show an appetite for “channel” surfing, according to Convergys Corporation (NYSE: CVG), a global leader in relationship management.

While a majority of consumers continue to place the greatest importance on agent-assisted phone support, with 62% overall choosing it as their first or second most preferred channel, Convergys’ second annual Consumer Scorecard study also found that Millennials (aged 18-34) continue to look for and test alternative customer service channels, such as texting, social media and smartphone apps. However, it’s Generation X (aged 35-44) and the Baby Boomers (aged 45-65) who are driving a resurgence in agent-assisted phone support, with more than 80% noting it as a preferred communication channel for customer service.

That’s not to say that all UK consumers opt for agent-assisted service right from the start. A study conducted by TellMe* concludes that 40%-60% of transactions that start in channels that don’t provide a live interaction with a customer service agent ultimately transition to an agent.

“What we have is a situation where consumers are engaging organizations across many new channels when they need service or assistance, but those channels can’t always provide high-touch, empathetic and personalized care needed for the resolution of more complex issues,” says Paul Trefonas, Convergys Vice President, International.

Customers are likely to continue to find new ways to communicate with organizations, adding more complexity to the customer service picture. For example, Convergys found that 42% of UK consumers expect to be able to use texting, or SMS, in the near future to interact with brands, findings supported in a recent study by Juniper Research**, which predicts a huge increase in the use of SMS by banks to communicate with their customers. Convergys also found that 27% of UK consumers have or would like to use social media when communicating with companies, while 14% said they would use smartphone apps.

According to the Convergys 2010 Scorecard Series research, it’s the Millennials who lead the way in communicating via email, text message and smartphone apps, with 60% using one or more of those channels. Forty-seven percent of Generation X and 41% of Baby Boomers are likely to use digital channels for service as long as they are reliable.

The cost of serving customers across different channels can vary from several pounds for agent-assisted service to just a few pence for online and automated interactions, such as web self-service, text messaging, email or smartphone apps. The Convergys study highlights the opportunities for businesses to align service costs with consumers’ customer service expectations, a practice which can help drive increased customer loyalty.

“What our study shows is that consumers of all ages are increasingly open to communicating with brands using new technologies, whether SMS, social networks or even smartphone apps. More importantly, however, they expect companies to provide these channels,” said Trefonas.

“However, if companies are to roll out new services and communications channels, it is vital that they use customer intelligence to inform the service process from the start and ensure that exceptions, technical issues and customer feedback are acted upon quickly. Customers with complex issues must have immediate access to agent-assisted service and customer service agents must be empowered, equipped and trained to provide a superior customer experience. The companies that take note of these trends and use them to their advantage will be able to blend these different customer service channels to increase and grow their revenues,” concluded Trefonas.

As a global leader in Relationship Management, Convergys is dedicated to improving customer experiences. By uncovering the factors that influence the customer experience – both positively and negatively – our research drives greater insights in how to efficiently and effectively improve customer service and deliver a superior customer experience every time.

Convergys’ Customer Intelligence Services surveyed 1,616 customers and 600 employees of large companies in the United Kingdom in 2010. 45 of the employees were company executives.

* TellMe Continuing the Conversation: Cross-Channel Customer Service Integration, April 2010

** Mobile Banking: Strategies, Applications and Markets 2010-2015, 17 August 2010

** J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Wireless Provider Performance Declines Significantly When Customer Care Issues Are Handled by a Computerized Response System, 25 January 2007

About Convergys

Convergys Corporation (NYSE: CVG) is a global leader in relationship management. We provide solutions that drive more value from the relationships our clients have with their customers. Convergys turns these everyday interactions into a source of profit and strategic advantage for our clients.

For more than 30 years, our unique combination of domain expertise, operational excellence, and innovative technologies has delivered process improvement and actionable business insight to marquee clients all over the world.

Convergys has approximately 65,000 employees in 68 customer contact centers and other facilities in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, and our global headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. For more information, visit www.convergys.com

(Convergys and the Convergys logo are registered trademarks of Convergys Corporation.)

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