Having surveyed 2,600 consumers and contact centre professionals in both the UK and USA, research commissioned by PCI Pal®, the global cloud provider of secure payment solutions for business communications has found that 61% of consumers overall (81% in the UK and 40% in the US) feel that increased use of technology to handle customer service increases an organisation’s security risk. 

CXM has summarized the report to bring you the statistics from contact centre employees and customers, looking at the future of customer service, what type of contract customers prefer, and concerns about safety. We tell you the good, the bad, and the surprising.   

55% of contact centre professionals envisioning that fewer staff in the near future 

Within the next five years, 55% of contact centre professionals envision that fewer  staff will be employed as a result of technology adoption. This can result in reassurances needing to be provided to customers on the security measures that are in place, to ensure the trust is maintained

Specifically, 20% of US contact centre professionals felt that fewer contact centre employees will be needed due to increased reliance on online or self-service technologies. While 21% of the constant centre professionals in the UK believe the decrease will be due to greater use of automated solutions or chatbots. 

59% of customers prefer person-to-person contact 

an image showing a woman using the live chat as a future of customer service.

The survey found that personal service remains king for UK-based consumers. A collective 59% prefer some form of person-to-person contact if they have an enquiry about a product, prior to purchase. Specifically, 23% said they like the convenience of talking to a real person via live chat. 18% prefer to talk to someone over the phone, while a further 18% would go into a branch or store to talk to someone. 

In the US, 35% of consumers would opt to speak to a customer service representative over the phone, followed by 25% who would prefer to use an online self-service function to answer their own queries. Plus, a further 17% prefer using live chat with a real operative. This shows a greater acceptance of technology-based customer support in conjunction with more personalised options. 

 “It is clear that consumers still value personalised service, even with all the technology and customer service channels available to them and so organisations need to make sure they are striking the right balance of people versus technology within the contact centre environment “, shared Geoff Forsyth, CISO at PCI Pal

52% of contact centre professionals are concerned about safety  

When asked about how contact centres have responded to the pandemic, there was some concern expressed by contact centres employees in relation to security. More than half believed they were at greater risk of a cyberattack due to agents working from home.

In addition, just over two-fifths of respondents said they are not confident about one or more aspects of the data security within their organisation’s contact centre. When asked to explain why 54% of those based in the US felt that limited or infrequent training was a factor.

While 35% suggested that poor leadership or direction on data security rules and processes was a concern.  In the UK, 41% agreed that limited or infrequent training was an issue, and 38% suggested that legacy technology is restrictive. 

Consumer’s confidence in contact centre security has increased to 42% 

Conversely, consumer confidence hasn’t been affected during the pandemic with 48% of UK-based consumers and 42% of US ones suggesting they are confident with how organisations are handling their personal data and payment information.

Compare this to five years ago – with a further 37% ‘feeling about the same’, illustrating no heightened concerns amid the pandemic. In fact, when consumers were asked how confident they are in how contact centres are handling their payment information, an impressive 6 out of every 10 consumers said they were.  

 “What is interesting is that while consumers appear to want to have the option of talking to a dedicated customer service representative when support or guidance is needed, the majority of both UK (48%) and US (59%) consumers stated that they prefer to pay for goods or services using an online link, with most suggesting that they feel it is more secure than other methods.  It is therefore important that organisations deliver a truly omnichannel service to give consumers choice in how and when they connect and communicate with an organisation, as this is clearly what consumers today expect”, explained Forsyth.  

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