Research carried out by Content Guru has discovered strong demand for the use of digital support channels amongst UK consumers. However, 89% of consumers surveyed admitted they’d been forced to call service providers after failing to resolve queries online in the past year.
The research was carried out following the emergence of the Consumer Telephone Service Standards Bill. The proposed bill, first tabled in late 2022 and currently seeking further sponsor support, aims to improve the customer experience (CX) provided by utilities, broadband and phone providers and will hold them accountable through enhanced regulation; such as financial penalties for providers that make customers wait over ten minutes to speak with a human agent.
The emergence of digital, social and self-service channels have changed the face of customer service in recent years. As a result, almost half (47%) of consumers would now prefer to solve their query through these channels. The vast majority of service providers offer a wide range of channels, allowing customers to interact on their own terms. Email (29%), website live chat (29%), AI chat (19%) and in-app support (19%) were all popular amongst consumers as they search for more efficient ways to interact with providers. Phone remained a popular support channel for consumers for urgent enquiries (38%) such as reporting a service interruption, discussing a sensitive issue, requesting technical support, or requesting support with a payment. However, over a third of consumers (36%) have waited up to 30 minutes to speak to an agent in the past 12 months, highlighting the pain points when getting in touch via phone.
“There are more channels than ever before for consumers to use to contact their providers,” explained Martin Taylor, Co-Founder and Deputy CEO, Content Guru. “However, the failure to successfully solve queries through these channels is pushing people towards unnecessary phone interactions. This is not only expensive for providers and causes long wait times, which could result in fines if the bill is passed, but also results in a poor CX. To measure the success of their CX and ensure customers are resolving issues as efficiently as possible, it’s essential that providers rank Customer Effort Score (CES) as a leading success metric. CES has become an increasingly important consideration to measure as customers look to resolve their issues efficiently and on their terms.”