*Detica research shows that only ‘early adopters’ are comfortable with, and taking full advantage of self-service communications technology as it stands at present*
Just 11% of the population of the UK are ready to adopt self service technology in the form that companies are currently offering it. This is according to research carried out by Mori on behalf of Detica, one of the largest pure customer relationship management (CRM) consultancies in the UK.
The research report, ‘Self-Service Technology: Putting the Customer in the Driving Seat', examined UK customer experiences of self-service communications technology via such methods as interactive voice recognition (IVR), the Internet, interactive digital television (iDTV) and advanced speech recognition (ASR). It shows that there is a big difference between how various segments of the population cope with and use technology to interact with businesses and, in many cases, the ambitions of companies to have customers serving themselves are being frustrated.
The research segments UK consumers by the definitions of ‘early adopter’, ‘majority’ and ‘laggard’ which were originally identified by Everett Rogers in 1962. Detica, however, defines the sample more by rational and emotional characteristics than by demographic profile. Within this, early adopters are highly open to new technology, the majority only once the benefits understood, and laggards sceptical or less convinced by technology. The sample, representative of the UK population as a whole, found that early adopters form 11% of the population, the majority 44%, and laggards 41%. The research found it is typically only early adopters who exhibit the right attitude and aptitude to make self-service work in its current form, since they require only minimal encouragement and only basic levels of initial support to adopt new technology.
Getting to grips with new technology appears to be a problem for many consumers. In answer to how long it takes for customers to work out how to use a new communications technology product, 35% of the majority and 53% of the laggards either strongly agreed or tended to agree that it took a long time.
Commenting on this, Jeremy Braune, Head of Customer Experience at Detica, says: “The length of time to assimilate has become a serious issue. You have to ask yourself, how many of these consumers are going to reject the brand before they have worked out how to communicate with the company? Given that 89% of those polled across all groups felt that they needed some degree of encouragement to try out a new technology -based service, it is vital that businesses outline to customers why they should be using new technology and make it easy for them to use it.”
Moreover, there appear to be psychological and emotional barriers which still need to be addressed. When asked the degree to which consumers found new communication technology intimidating, 49% of laggards, 18% of the majority and 17% of early adopters either tended to agree or strongly agreed – taken together, this represents almost a third of the entire population.
Braune continues: “The statistics show that there are still significant steps which companies need to take in order to make all segments of the population feel comfortable with self service technology. Self-service will only succeed in attracting consumers and changing their behaviour if the right benefits can be stressed, explained and delivered. At present self-service is for the few in the early adopter category and not the many. Educating the other two segments and making the technology more user-friendly will ultimately result in a win-win situation for consumer and company alike.”
The research, ‘Self-Service Technology - Putting The Customer In The Driving Seat', examined UK customer experiences and dissatisfaction with self-service technology. The report comprised both qualitative and quantitative phases, the former being conducted by Detica’s own Customer Experience Unit and the latter by MORI, using a panel of 2000 respondents, representative of the UK population.
For a copy of the research report, ‘Self-Service Technology :Putting The Customer In The Driving Seat’ (£650), please contact Alex Neillands on 01483 442154, or e-mail [email protected].
Notes to editors:
Detica is a specialist Customer Relationship Management (CRM) consultancy that helps its clients harness technology to identify, attract, develop and retain customers. The company’s services cover all major aspects of CRM solutions, ranging from the development of CRM strategies to implementing operational solutions.
Working for some of the UK’s largest companies - including British Airways, Lloyds TSB, NTL, Centrica and National Express – Detica’s edge, derived from its strong technology heritage, is a deep understanding of how to transform businesses to create sustainable value and enhanced customer benefits.
Detica was recently named the top “pure-play” CRM consultancy in the UK, and also the leading consultancy in the area of information security by Management Consultancy magazine.