The UK has been thrust in the spotlight a lot over the past few years for various reasons, good and bad. And it appears we’ve been singled out again. Research from Five9 has revealed that the UK is the most unforgiving nation when it comes to bad customer experience. A quick scroll through my back catalogue of CX Today blogs and you’ll find various references to bad CX I’ve experienced – proving the study right. We Brits like efficiency, and to be brutally honest – yes, we’re known for our manners but it doesn’t take much for us to lose patience either. Like the rest of the world, we’ve endured lockdown after lockdown and companies using COVID as an excuse as to why we’re constantly repeating our inquiries to agents over the phone or waiting days for an automated email to tell us our order is delayed has worn thin. Added to that, we’ve had the so-called ‘pingdemic’ and now the issues with a lack of HGV drivers too.
But without going off on a rant, we’re also a nation of experimentalists too. The same study by Five9 also found that the UK is most likely to use webchat (20%), over a quarter (26%) of UK consumers are more willing to use social media platforms for customer service than they were a year ago and two-fifths (40%) of UK consumers are already using virtual agents where available.
Brian Atkinson, Vice President and General Manager, EMEA from Five9 said: “Our Customer Service Index suggests some correlation between customer service and brand loyalty. Most businesses have faced unprecedented uncertainty over the last 12 months and simply cannot afford to lose customers.
“It’s therefore essential to get customer service right – especially for UK consumers. To do this it is ultimately about human connection, which is the underlying theme across the survey results. The phone is still popular because consumers want to feel like they are talking to a real person, and are being understood and listened to.
“Yet, they still expect the same across chatbots and social media. Human connection needs to therefore be at the heart of every communication – even if an actual person isn’t present.”
The study found the UK isn’t yet comfortable with video, however. 42% of consumers would prefer not to use a video call with a customer service agent. Understandable I guess, and I suppose the general consensus is if the phone is there why bother with video?
These figures made me think though. We’ve all got a lot going on right now, as we all try and navigate out of the nightmare of COVID. It’s vital we all try out these new technologies and ways of communicating with businesses. The pandemic has changed the face of CX across the globe and companies and their customers are still finding their feet. And while us Brits are keen to try new things, perhaps we can be a little more patient in the process.