US tech companies heading for a customer service disaster?

22nd Sep 2014

77% of consumers in the US want brands to ‘value their time’ more, according to Forrester, which roughly translates to ‘we expect businesses to offer us more customer service options online’.

Yet, despite this glaring affirmation, a new study from IntelliResponse has found that only 12% of upcoming tech companies currently offer any kind of online chat or virtual agent capabilities, which the research states is “setting [businesses] up for a customer service disaster”.

Based on Deloitte’s 2013 Technology Fast 500 list, IntelliResponse’s research also found that 61% of the companies studied appear to actually put up unnecessary barriers for customers getting the information they needed, with 47% offering ‘customer portals’ that required a login to gain any customer service support and almost two-thirds making customers rely on search functions onsite in order to gain the information they require.

The statistics are somewhat of an anomaly, especially given the growing trend towards more online visibility among businesses in most other sectors, and one that IntelliResponse’s CEO, David Lloyd, believes will only hurt those that continue to make their customers jump through hoops:   

“Today’s digital consumers demand effortless online service and failing to deliver can mean lost loyalty and revenue, potentially killing a growing business..

“As companies grow, it becomes increasingly critical to offer efficient self-service across their digital interaction channels using virtual agent technology that can provide the single right answer based on the intent of customers’ questions and not just keywords.”

Recent research by Synthetix suggests that as many as 90% of consumers will always check a website first before contacting a company, while 55% of consumers say they are likely to abandon their online purchase if they can't find a quick answer to their question.  

And according to a poll by NICE, 28% of consumers use the web to interact with their providers at least once a week, with financial services customers the most frequent visitors; further highlighting the importance of getting the online customer support experience right, regardless of the sector.

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