Consumers Returning to Assisted Channels Due to Cost-of-living

Consumers returning to assisted channels as the cost-of-living crisis continues – voice of the Contact Centre 2023

The CCMA (Call Centre Management Association), representing the UK’s largest community of contact centre professionals in the industry, has today released its latest research, supported by Odigo, the leading Contact Centre as-a-Service (CCaaS) provider. The piece highlights a growing preference of consumers to be assisted by frontline colleagues as opposed to utilising self-service options as the urgency of query resolution and need for reassurance has escalated, and they have become aware of the limitations of self-serve journeys.

Previous editions of the Voice of the Contact Centre Consumer research had pointed towards a rise in the acceptance of self-service throughout the pandemic, followed later by a shift back to preferring assistance for more complex queries. This year’s research shows an increase in the demand for assistance at almost every level of surveyed support needs.

 Leigh Hopwood, CEO at the CCMA, explains,

“This year we are seeing the impact of economic pressures on consumers expressed in a downward turn in perceptions of customer service”,

“Emotions are running high: more than half of consumers report that they have recently been angry or upset when dealing with a contact centre advisor. During these difficult times empathy, reassurance and human assistance are more important than ever for customers so it’s not surprising that consumers are returning to assisted channels.

“But it’s also important to address the root causes of customer frustration and find ways to protect and support the people on our contact centre front lines. This is more crucial than ever before.”

The research revealed five key discoveries this year:

1. In 2023 the proportion of those who believe customer service is worsening (34%) is now almost double the proportion of those who believe service is improving (18%).

2. A year of rising costs has taken a toll. More than half (53%) of people surveyed report that it’s become harder to manage their finances, and people who are finding it harder to manage their finances tend also to be less positive about the state of customer service.

3. More than half (53%) of surveyed consumers report having become angry or upset when dealing with a contact centre advisor in the past 12 months.

4. Consumers don’t hold the front line fully responsible for a bad customer experience. Ratings of contact centre advisors are more positive than ratings of customer service overall.

5. Consumer preference is reverting back to assisted channels as the urgency of query resolution and need for reassurance has escalated, and they have become aware of the limitations of self-serve journeys.

Melissa Cowdry, Director of Field Marketing at Odigo, acknowledges the transformation of customers into empowered and informed advocates for their best interests.

“This research sheds light on how empowered, informed, and savvy consumers now advocate for their best interests. While confrontations may arise, we recognise the exceptional skills showcased by frontline agents, backed by industry leaders’ ongoing training and support.

“There is evidence of a notable shift in self-service as simple queries regain complexity. Contact centres are challenged to provide support, going beyond mere service, by orchestrating complex care. Voice interactions remain a trusted channel, especially during challenging times, while self-service levels fluctuate accordingly. To deliver positive experiences, knowledge sharing, easy escalation, accurate advice, and seamless multi-channel interactions are paramount.



To gain further insight into the findings of the 2023 report by Clicking Here

For nearly 30 years, the CCMA (Call Centre Management Association), as the longest established contact centre industry body, has been dedicated to supporting contact centre leaders across the UK. Founded on the principles of sharing best practice and networking to improve skills and knowledge, the CCMA is a thriving community that represents leaders from a huge cross-section of the industry.
Membership of the largest community in the industry offers unique opportunities, such as free annual benchmarking of 20+ KPIs, free entry into the UK National Contact Centre Awards and free tickets to the UK National Contact Centre Conference, invites to Executive Networking Dinners and exclusive events for members-only. Members also benefit from discounted training through the UK National Contact Centre Academy, the industry’s training partner.
To support the industry further, the CCMA conducts regular original research for download, including the annual Salary and Skills Guide and the Voice of the Contact Centre Consumer research, the Evolution of the Contact Centre tracking the industry’s progress and Good Practice Guides on a variety of topics.

For additional information on the CCMA view their Company Profile

Odigo is a leading provider of Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) solutions that facilitate communication between large organisations and individuals using a global omnichannel management platform. With its innovative approach based on empathy and technology, Odigo enables brands to connect through the crucial human element of interaction, while also taking full advantage of the potential of digital. A pioneer in the customer experience (CX) market, the company caters to the needs of more than 250 large enterprise clients in over 100 countries.

For additional information on Odigo view their Company Profile

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