Despite the rise of social media, new research has found companies are failing to use digital channels to interact in real time with their customers.
According to the study by IBM and Forrester of UK businesses, 83% still use telephone contact centres as their primary way of dealing with enquiries, resulting in disgruntled customers turning to social media to resolve their complaints.
However, 30% of businesses have no immediate plans to allow customers to research product information prior to purchase via social media while the same number of firms claimed to measuring and tracking online behaviour to inform customer service.
Additionally, the survey found only a third of firms offer customers online live help while only 39% of offer information, purchase or customer service focused apps.
In terms of connected capabilities, only 43% of businesses offer mobile or tablet optimised sites, the findings showed.
James Lovell, European Smarter Commerce Consultant at IBM, comments, “Consumers clearly want to use online channels to not only research products, but also interact with and find out more information about a company. Without this ease of access, consumers could quickly move on to more socially savvy competitors.
“Embracing digital channels can also be more cost efficient for businesses. Setting up online help forums and giving customers more ways to self-service online can save on contact centre costs and allow for more flexible customer service. This transition to an online customer service model will require greater collaboration across the business, and in particular much closer integration between the company’s marketing and IT departments.”