The End of Customer Service as We Know It

Future of Customer Service

Aspect Software’s Consumer Experience Index Survey shows self-service and AI are redefining how consumers view customer service.

Customer service is in decline – at least traditional customer service as we know it is. The number of people who contacted customer service over the phone declined 10 percent in the last two years and contact with customer service overall has dropped seven percent over the same period according to the latest findings from the Aspect Consumer Experience Index.

What hasn’t declined, however, is the number of consumers who stopped doing business with companies because of poor customer service. That figure rose to 54 percent last year, up from 49 percent the year before, with the number of Millennials jumping eight percent. Basic lack of effectiveness – the ability to resolve issues to their satisfaction was the leading cause of defection.

Consumers expressed a notable improvement and rise in interest with their experiences on new/emerging channels. 77 percent of consumers rated text-based customer service experiences using AI favorably, a 10 percent increase from the year before. And a full third of consumers and 52 percent of Millennials said they would like to see all customer service done through self-service AI.

“The insight from the survey results is not just the growing preference for self-service over agent-assisted interactions. More interesting is the possibility that consumers aren’t viewing these self-managed experiences as customer service the way brands define it,” said Jim Freeze, Chief Marketing Officer, Aspect.

“It only becomes defined as ‘customer service’ by the customer when a complex interaction requires human assistance and they have to engage a live person. It’s clear from the findings that increasingly, consumers are not giving brands a second chance. There has never been a more critical time for companies to respond to the growing consumer desire for digital channels over traditional voice and IVR interaction. Moreover, the ability for brands to be agile in adapting to evolving customer experience demands underscores the compelling nature of continuously-delivered features and functionality that a cloud-based platform like Aspect delivers.”

One of the clear opportunities for brands is addressing customer experience effectiveness. 45 percent of consumers in the survey said they didn’t care if an online purchase or customer service interaction is performed by a chatbot or a live agent as long it is handled quickly and accurately. Plus, consumers are more than willing to pay more for better customer service. 52 percent of American consumers would pay more for guaranteed good customer service while 75 percent would pay more for exceptional customer service.

Key Findings:

  • A third of consumers, and 52% of Millennials, would like to see all customer service done through self-service, intelligent assistants or chatbots
  • 48% feel the ability to interact in the method/manner of their choice is the most important facet of a personalized experience, three times more important than knowing their name
  • More than a third are open to having customer service done through home intelligent assistants like Amazon Echo or even ordinary appliances like refrigerators through IoT
  • Only 36% of consumers in the UK have stopped doing business with a company because of poor customer service
  • Americans are willing to pay 52% more for a good customer experience.

You can read the full findings of the Aspect Consumer Experience Index here.

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