Most consumers are ready to swap customer service calls for digital self-service in the wake of their experience during the pandemic, according to new survey findings released by Macro 4. The research, which examines UK consumer attitudes to household energy and water suppliers, suggests that 61 per cent of customers have become more comfortable interacting with companies digitally since the pandemic, on websites, apps and other online channels. And 60 per cent would now prefer not to call a live customer service person at all if they can solve their issues themselves using online resources.
When asked what aspects of service are important in a household energy or water supplier, 72 per cent of the 1,000–plus survey respondents said they now want utilities to provide online resources that make it easy to resolve their questions themselves rather than having to use the phone. 93 per cent said it was important that they are able to contact their supplier in whatever way they prefer – such as by phone, email, social media, text or messaging apps. And 93 per cent stressed the importance of getting a quick response whether they call or make contact digitally.
Macro 4, a division of UNICOM® Global that helps enterprises accelerate digital transformation, commissioned two separate surveys of over 1,000 household utility bill payers in the UK. The results are published in a report, 'Giving UK Utility Customers A Voice'.
Jim Allum, Director, Commercial and Technical at Macro 4, said: "During COVID-19 restrictions, we all got used to doing more things digitally. And for many people that would have included resorting to online self-service since most contact centers at the time were experiencing significant delays due to soaring call volumes. What's interesting is that the habit has stuck. The majority of people are now happy to use self-service instead of speaking to a customer service person on the phone – especially for simple queries. One positive of helping customers to do more for themselves is that it frees up hard-pressed contact center agents to handle more complex queries by phone, chat or email, and this is where companies can add real value. And it should also mean shorter wait times for those people who do need to speak by phone."
Questions related to bills and charges often trigger calls to the contact center and this was one of the specific gripes identified by the research. 31 per cent of energy customers and 26 per cent of water customers in the survey sample want their current suppliers1 bills to be easier to understand2. And 73 per cent regularly check their energy and water bills for mistakes3.
Allum said, "Self-service can play an important role by providing reassurance and clarity surrounding bills and how they are calculated. For example, if customers are given self-service access to detailed historical information, as well as basic analysis facilities to compare their own billing and usage rates over time, they can rule out any anomalies for themselves."
Further underlining consumers' growing preference for digital resources and interaction, nearly two thirds of the customers questioned in the survey believe it’s more convenient to view all of their household bills online rather than on paper.
Allum added, "Ditching paper altogether is not yet an option, however, since nearly a third of the people we asked still want paper bills. This research highlights the importance of building flexibility into your communication systems so that you can personalize your service to meet the needs of different customers. It’s all about delivering a consistently great experience across every communication channel."
Macro 4's report 'Giving UK Utility Customers A Voice' can be downloaded at https://bit.ly/Utilitysurvey.
1 'Very important' and 'Somewhat important' options combined.
2 Survey of 1,193 utility bill payers (18+) between 19.01.2022 - 21.01.2022
3 Survey of 1,312 utility bill payers (18+) between 08.02.2022 - 10.02.2022
About the survey
Macro 4 commissioned two online surveys of 1,193 (between 19.01.2022 - 21.01.2022) and 1,312 (between 08.02.2022 - 10.02.2022) utility bill payers (aged 18+) across the UK via research company Censuswide. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.
About Macro 4 www.macro4.com
Macro 4, a division of UNICOM Global, develops software solutions that accelerate digital transformation. Macro 4's cross-platform enterprise information management solutions make it easy to introduce new digital channels, personalize customer communications and deliver actionable insights from business content. Macro 4 solutions for application lifecycle management, session management and performance optimization are used by many of the world's largest enterprises to modernize their mainframe applications and development processes.
About UNICOM® Global www.unicomglobal.com
UNICOM Global consists of more than fifty (50) corporate entities encompassing a wide range of businesses across all geographic regions. With its corporate headquarters in Los Angeles, California, to offices in Illinois, Kentucky, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, New Jersey, Texas and Virginia, throughout EMEA in the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland and the UAE, and across Asia/Pacific region with locations in Japan, China, India, Australia, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and the Philippines.
UNICOM Global offers deep in-house resources and flexible IT solutions to our partners worldwide. UNICOM Global focuses on acquiring and integrating mature and growing mid-cap NASDAQ, London Stock Exchange AIM and German publicaly-traded companies in technology, financing, IT, real estate, and business services. Please visit our websites for additional information about the services, products and solutions that UNICOM Global offers:
|www.unicomglobal.com||UNICOM Global - Assets, capital and investment management|
|www.unicomsi.com||UNICOM Systems - IBM Mainframe software products|
|www.unicomgov.com||UNICOM Government (formerly NASDAQ: GTSI) - Government IT solutions|
|www.unicomengineering.com||UNICOM Engineering (formerly NASDAQ: NEI) Appliance platform|
|www.unicom.org||UNICOM Science and Technology Parks|
|www.unicomtechnologypark.com||UNICOM Technology Park – Innovation Labs in Virginia|
|www.unicomsciencepark.com||UNICOM Science and Technology Park – Innovation Labs in New Jersey|
|www.unicom-capital.com||UNICOM Capital - Business and Financial Services|
|www.usrobotics.com||U.S. Robotics - Data communications products|
|www.memeo.com||Memeo - Enterprise-grade Secure File Sharing for the Cloud|
|www.firetide.com||Firetide - Wireless technology solutions for security and transportation|
|www.detec.com||DETEC - Document composition products|
|www.softlanding.com||SoftLanding Systems - IBM i software products|
|www.macro4.com||Macro 4 (formerly LONDON: MAO) - Document Management products|
|www.illustro.com||illustro - z/OS and z/VSE software products|
|www.iet-solutions.com||iET Solutions - ITIL® ITSM software products|
|www.eden.com||Eden - Mergers & Acquisitions, Business & Financial Services, and Real Estate|
|www.cics.com||CICS.com - Hardware, Software, Outsourcing and Professional Services|
All trademarks referenced herein are trademarks of their respective companies.