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What is the 'Autonomous Customer' - and why is it important?

7th Jul 2015
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Brands that make it easy for consumers to move seamlessly between customer contact channels as and when it suits them are rewarded by more purchases, higher levels of repeat spend and greater loyalty.

The global report commissioned by telecoms giant BT and its Avaya business communications unit, surveyed 5,500 consumers from 10 countries worldwide to find that so-called “autonomous customers” are most keen to communicate with customer service while they are online, typically via web-chat (71%).

But they also appreciate being able to switch channel easily from social media to the telephone (63%) or from web-chat to the telephone (62%). Only one in three respondents believed that organisations currently made it easy to do so, however.

The report entitled “Autonomous Customer 2015: On Hold for Intelligent Customer Service” described autonomous customers as consumers who research and investigate possible purchases online using websites or mobile devices before buying. They ‘self-serve’ such information and prefer to interact with organisations on their own terms.

Garry Veale, Avaya’s president of Europe, said: “Autonomous customers invest time and effort to make a purchase decision. When they hit an issue they can’t resolve, they want an answer from the organisation there and then. Three quarters of consumers expect a customer service agent to be instantly aware of their details and history, across all channels.”

There are rich rewards for brands that get it right too, especially in fast-growing economies – 90% of Chinese customers said they would buy more from such companies compared to 84% of Indian consumers and 83% in the United Arab Emirates.

But the response was also favourable in developed nations too, with 82% of people from the US indicating that they would spend more, followed by 73% in the UK and 72% in Belgium.


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