Customer Service Is In Decline – Here Is What Businesses Are Doing About It

Over half of consumers believe that customer service is getting worse, according to a new Enghouse Interactive study

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Customer Service Is In Decline – Here Is What Businesses Are Doing About It
Contact CentreInsights

Published: July 12, 2022

Charlie Mitchell

A new Enghouse study has uncovered the scale of consumer frustration with post-pandemic customer service experiences.

Indeed, “The Changing Landscape of Customer Communications” report reveals that 52 percent of British consumers believe that the customer service they received from companies got worse during the pandemic.

Compare this figure with the meagre 17 percent that instead considers it to have improved, and a chasm emerges, highlighting the rising scale of dissatisfaction with service experiences.

Digging deeper, the research underlines potential causes. Unsurprisingly, long wait times on the voice channel took the top spot, frustrating 70 percent of consumers.

In a similar vein, the next most common customer gripe – irritating 56 percent of customers – involved “going through an automated phone menu but still not getting the answers I need.” Ugh.

Yet, being kept waiting is not the only source of customer discontent. 21 percent of customers say they get fewer than half of their queries resolved the first time they contact an organisation.

From these statistics alone, numerous reasons come to the fore, underlining the rising consumer frustration with customer service. Long wait times, confusing customer-facing technologies, limited agent knowledge, and that is just for starters.

Burdened by these pressing issues, many customer service teams are making mission-critical changes to how they operate.

How Companies Are Addressing This Concerning Trend

According to IT professionals, 59 percent of UK companies have increased their investment in customer service in the past two years.

Yet, just 24 percent are pumping newfound funds into recruiting more staff and lowering wait times. Indeed, with a narrowing talent pool – thanks to increased competition from other industries – hiring more agents is not the simple answer it once was.

Interestingly, more companies (25 percent) are prioritizing improvements to the quality and ease of access to frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Such a statistic highlights how many businesses are addressing rising service dissatisfaction by investing in increasing the simplicity of digital experiences. Theoretically, this would reduce contact volumes and lower the pressure on customer service teams in a CX-friendly manner.

Delving deeper into the current status quo, Judith Schuder, VP of Marketing at Enghouse Interactive, said:

“Customers want to interact with organisations that value their time in ways that are painless, quick, and easy. Businesses need to focus on finding ways to simplify interactions, keep waiting times down, and reduce frustration by offering virtual waiting or proactive callbacks within a set time period.”

As Schuder suggests, virtual waiting will likely grow in use, particularly as companies invest more heavily in digital channels and evolving their channel mix.

Indeed, the study highlights that more businesses are turning to social media, instant messaging, and live chat to accentuate the digital factor in CX. Meanwhile, as per the report, they are answering customer demand for faster, more efficient interactions.

Over time, such a strategy may improve customer experiences. Yet, for the time being, growing pains may add to rising dissatisfaction, especially as new channels attract more customers. While this may increase engagement, it will add to contact centre demand and dreaded long wait times.

As such, companies will likely turn towards conversational AI to automate contacts, building on their online capabilities and surfacing insights in simple, speedy ways.

Further Fascinating Statistics from the Enghouse Interactive Report

The Enghouse Interactive report reveals many more findings, digging deeper into the current state of customer service. Other standout statistics include:

  • 50 percent of consumers say they would not pay more to receive good customer service, yet 85 percent of IT professionals think they would.
  • Over a quarter (26 percent) of consumers cite “ease of doing business” as having the most influence on their purchasing decisions.
  • Customers view telephone calls and web chats with live agents as the most successful or reliable channels to quickly solve queries.
  • More than a third (37 percent) of customers are “uncomfortable sharing any personal data with organisations regardless of the benefit it gives me.”
  • Cyber-security and poor systems integration are the biggest challenges IT professionals face when enhancing the customer service technology architecture.

Enghouse Interactive polled more than 100 UK consumers to unveil these findings. It also separately surveyed 100 IT professionals – either at C-Level or managers – working for various organisations across the UK.


Looking for a new technology partner for transforming CX in the post-pandemic world? Talk to a friendly Enghouse Interactive expert today.


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