New research shows organisations are failing to grasp customer interaction needs

Over 70% of UK organisations which offer contact centre services are failing to implement new ways of communicating with their customers, a new survey shows.

Despite a rise in the use of digital technology, the study showed that seven out of ten UK firms don’t look for alternative ways to communicate with their customers if they fail to hear back from them.

The figure comes from research undertaken by business process outsourcing firm Sigma Connected, and digital collections and recoveries experts Arum, with the partnership surveying 50 UK companies about their use of human interaction and digital channels when engaging with customers.

The study, carried out this summer, also reveals that only one third tailor their communications following customer feedback, with 28% also failing to offer any option for a customer to have a human conversation to solve issues such as billing or service problems.

Colin McMahon, Director of Financial Services at Sigma Connected said: “What our research has shown is that many organisations are often too set in their ways when it comes to customer contact and must be more responsive to their needs.

“We now live in a world where consumers want brands to give them a personalised service. That needs a blend of human-to-human and technology-led options. Some people prefer using online chat functions to solve their billing or payment plan issues, but others who are perhaps vulnerable and need specialist support, require one-to-one discussions. Organisations must find that balance if they want to retain customers and service them responsibly.

“The report highlights a rise in the use of digital channels which is expected, but especially in today’s cost of living crisis, people want to discuss their situation with someone who can empathise. It ultimately shows that more organisations should be listening to and acting on customer feedback about how they want to engage.”

Carlos Osorio, managing director of Arum added: “We want to understand more about how organisations are making use of digital and voice channels to best help their customers and this latest research tells us so much.

“On one hand, digital channels are on the rise, but there is evidence of companies not tailoring communications in line with customer preferences.

“We are in an era when it has never been more important to get the balance right between a human conversation, and using tools like live chat, instant messenger and smartphone apps.”

The report also pinpoints payments as the main area companies would look to automate, and the situations where they believe voice analytics are best utilised.