CCMA research: self-service satisfaction is sinking

Customers are less happy to self-service complaints, refund queries, and routine servicing than in 2021

A new study commissioned by the CCMA and Odigo highlights a drop in self-service satisfaction across multiple contact reasons.

An excellent example of this is complaints, with just 28% of customers now happy to self-serve them. In 2021, 34% of customers were willing to do so.

Yet, this trend extends beyond submitting complaints. The “Voice of the Contact Centre Consumer 2022” report finds that – compared to 2021 – more customers would prefer human assistance with queries related to a refund, invoice/bill, warranty/repair, routine servicing/technical support, and advice before an order.

Such research seems to conflict with the general principle that customers never want to engage with someone from the contact centre and expect a fully automated experience.

Yet, perhaps something larger is at play. The CCMA engaged with a host of contact centre leaders to discuss the possible reasons for this worrying development. In doing so, another trend revealed itself: a lack of customer trust.

One of these leaders was Anita Renyard, Senior Manager at TSB. In the report, she says: “Some of the self-serve solutions that were offered during the pandemic weren’t great and sometimes you feel like ‘no, I want to almost see the whites of the eyes of the people and get a commitment’.”

Indeed, it is likely that spikes in contact volumes during the pandemic, combined with staffing issues buoyed by The Great Resignation, could have caused companies to rush self-service deployments. In turn, CX may have taken a hit as brands accelerated the test, learn, and optimise implementation process.

Yet, perhaps there is another trend of customers seeking accountability, which links to a lack of trust. After all, many customers have become accustomed to companies attempting to wriggle out of their commitments when making warranty, refund, and servicing requests.

Viv Kelley, Head of Customer Service at Shell Energy, also suggests that many contact centres fail to understand the optimal digital channel mix. Speaking to the CCMA, she suggested: “The moral of the story is, if you get your online channels wrong, don’t expect customers to readily go back to them.”

However, the research is not all doom and gloom. When it comes to making a query relating to products/services, deliveries, and new accounts/orders, customers are more receptive to self-serve than in 2021.

These results suggest finding the optimal balance between AI and a human touch is critical. Yes, automating every simple, transactional query is typically conducive to lower customer effort. But remember, for particular queries, human reassurance and empathy are powerful CX differentiators.

Source: CX Today

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