UK Businesses Experience Nearly Half a Billion Customer Contacts Per Month

November 2018

A recent study has highlighted that UK customers contact businesses that they make purchases from an average of 9 times a month. Direct Commerce Magazine reported that UK brands respond to 463.5 million contacts every month, and this number is expected to continue rising.

However, 83% of consumers are happy to use self-service systems or refer to FAQs in hopes of finding an answer to their query without having to contact a brand’s customer service team. Plus, 54% of customers are now willing to use voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Siri to find the information they need.  

What Channels Do Customers Use Most Often to Contact Customer Services? 

Consumers use a multitude of different contact methods to speak to customer service representatives. This behaviour is representative of the varying ways that customers are now able to shop (online, offline, and even though voice-controlled assistants such as Amazon's Alexa). Email makes up 27% of interactions, followed by web self-service, telephone, and social media which make up 17% each, and live chat/chatbots which are used 11% of the time.

What Does This Cost UK Businesses?

The cost of answering these queries by telephone, email, social media, and live chat is £1.227 billion per month.  This cost is split between email (£440.44m), telephone (£338.31m), social media (£236.98m), and live chat (£211.99m).  These costs do not take automated chat or telephone bots into consideration.

Reducing the number of contacts by 10% would save UK companies £122m. The number of contacts being made could be reduced by companies posting relevant FAQ sections on their websites, to help the 83% of consumers willing to use self-help services find an answer.  Another key factor for businesses to consider is the quality of the customer service that they are currently offering.

Companies that opt to pay less for lower quality customer service, often end up spending more, as poor customer service often leads to more follow-up calls, which costs businesses more money as a result.  A common reason that customers call back is that their problem is not solved by the first customer service agent they speak to.  Customers are also regularly frustrated by long waiting times if they are put on hold by an advisor, which leads to the customer hanging up and calling again.

What Does Whistl Recommend? 

Whistl has been providing some of the biggest brands in the UK outsourced customer service for over 20 years. Martin Green, Contact Centre Operations Manager at Whistl recommends that companies have a clear FAQ section on their website, if the FAQ section is detailed enough companies will notice a significant reduction in customer contacts. Secondly, businesses should consider utilising self-service options on their website, such as allowing consumers to print their own return labels.  This will also reduce the number of contacts. In addition to this, a well-trained customer service team who can deal with most queries without passing customers on to other team members will reduce the number of customers that call on numerous occasions.

First contact resolution (FCR) is something that Whistl continuously focuses on improving.  We work closely with our clients to ensure our customer service team has all the tools and skills at their disposal to not only deliver an exceptional service to customers but also complete the enquiry at the first point of contact. Our clients benefit from our 20 years of experience in the customer service environment as we regularly provide recommendations about how they can improve their processes and systems to help deliver FCR.

Find out how Whistl can help your business improve customer services and increase first contact resolution?

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