2 min readCustomer service through digital channels ‘ineffective’


A great deal of the customer service being delivered through digital channels is not engaging effectively with its intended targets, according to a new report from Accenture’s Global Consumer Pulse.

The research, seen exclusively by Marketing Week, says 53 per cent of British consumers have switched brands in at least one industry because of poor digital relations.

Remarkably, people in the UK were less enthusiastic than any but one of the other 32 countries surveyed when asked if brands are melding traditional and digital customer support effectively.

Only four per cent of British respondents strongly agreed that companies do this well, with Japanese consumers the least enthusiastic at two per cent.

Accenture managing director Rachel Barton said this concern is a major factor in stopping “channel shift”, the desired process whereby consumers start contacting companies via the internet rather than using traditional means such as the phone.

This is an aim for many firms because it will allow them to save cash and become more efficient; however, until their service provision begins to match their aspirations they are unlikely to succeed.

“Although the penetration of online channels is very high, the phone channel has not dwindled,” declared Ms Barton.

“If digital were truly able to allow customers to execute an end-to-end task, I wouldn’t expect to see phone use quite so high.”

Some 43 per cent of people had used company websites in a bid to satisfy their needs, with less than one-fifth satisfied by the response they received from this channel.

Other factors such as optimisation for smartphones and tablets can prove decisive in how happy customers are, the report revealed.

Ms Barton concluded: “31 per cent are frustrated with a lack of mobile functionality. Our view is that every customer is a digital customer and mobile has to be a part of every organisation’s proposition.”