Service deliveryDigital Customer ServiceContact centres must find ‘sweet spot’ between technology and the human touch

Contact centres must find ‘sweet spot’ between technology and the human touch

Nearly nine in 10 respondents (88%) maintain the importance of speaking to a person when contacting a call centre

New research from Shared Services Connected (SSCL) has revealed that ‘human touch’ remains crucial to delivering satisfaction to contact centre customers, with nine out of 10 (88%) saying it is important to hear a human voice at the other end of the line.

However, the YouGov research, commissioned by SSCL and launched at the Public Sector Show 2018, is consistent across all age groups, only dropping to four out of five (78%) among 18-24 year olds, demonstrating the enduing power of the human touch in customer service.

Key findings from the research include:

  • Nearly nine in 10 (88%) maintain the importance of speaking to a person when contacting a call centre
  • Yet, research reveals customer dissatisfaction when an agent is reached, with half (50%) claiming their calls are misunderstood
  • Three in five (67%) are willing to use digital routes as a call centre alternative

For Carl Johnson, Director of Contact Centre Services at SSCL, the findings reinforce SSCL’s business strategy rooted in strengthening both the digital and human service available from contact centres.

Speaking at the Public Sector Show 2018, he said: “At SSCL we know that customer expectations from contact centres are growing, and as a result, contact centres are becoming more and more complex.

“At SSCL, we handle two million calls and over 200,000 emails each year. But despite the enormous scale of our day-to-day work, we’re constantly striving to achieve a balance between creating efficiencies and providing a tailored, personal and high-quality service to the public who rely on us.

“It’s about finding the ‘sweet spot’ between automation and human interaction. Investment in advancing automation is key, so that day-to-day issues can be handled by technological solutions while complex problems can be given the personal, human service they deserve.”

Successful approaches include ‘Intelligent IVRs’, which help quickly and efficiently route customer calls to the correct department, a ‘Customer Hub’ which provides a self-service method for customers to resolve their own queries and a new channel strategy which allows greater diversity of methods for contacting representatives, including online chat.

Taken together, these improvements promise to resolve simple queries through quick and effective automated methods, and have so far saved over £100 million for the UK taxpayer.

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