While investment in digital has ramped up throughout the pandemic, research by Pegasystems shows that it may have come at the cost of lower quality of service.

Pega commissioned research firm Savanta to conduct the global study, surveying 12,700 business leaders, agents and customers to understand the impact of the pandemic on customer service expectations.

The survey revealed that, while digital transformation has accelerated, this came at the cost of lowering quality of service, increasing inconsistencies and inefficiencies — leaving customers frustrated.

According to Jeff Nicholson, global leader, CRM Strategy at Pega, “The pandemic served as an accelerator for many organisations to fast-forward their customer service strategy deeper into digital.

“Today’s challenge, however, is that many traditional approaches still lack the journey-centric technology needed to achieve fast resolution via a customer’s preferred point of contact.”

Despite the fact that businesses are investing in new technologies, the survey revealed that 67 per cent of customers have experienced inconsistencies, having to repeat themselves using multiple channels of the same business. They cite non-traditional channels including web, mobile and chat bots as being the most inconsistent, leaving many customers to resort to traditional channels such as a phone call to solve an issue.

According to Pega, “If they’ve tried and failed with other channels, by the time they resort to the phone, they are often frustrated, angry, or both.”

While the desire for self-service is gaining in popularity, with 82 per cent of consumers willing to use it, almost half of consumers (46 per cent) have low expectations that it will actually do the job, fearing that it won’t work.
“Just being present on a range of channels is no longer enough. The next great opportunity is to up-level the quality of service on all channels so they can consistently resolve the same critical customer issues,” says Nicholson.

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