The 2013 version of the Autonomous Customer research, we complete for Avaya and BT Global Services has exposed a decline in the numbers of consumers going direct to an organisation’s website for customer contact.

This is a surprising finding given the strategies of many organisations over the past 10 years with the intention of drive customers to internet self-service, let them do the work, enable them to answer their own questions and manage their own accounts. What are the reasons for this decline, or at least flattening of usage of internet self-service through the PC or lap top?

1. Fragvergence is real. By this we mean that consumers’ interactions with organisations are mirroring their working and home lives and more devices are being used such as smartphones, tablets, smart TV’s, etc. So new channels – social media, video conferencing, web-chat and Apps – are the new ways that consumers are choosing to contact organisations.

2. The limits of self-service. In this survey of consumers across the UK and US, nearly 2/3rds said that many tasks are too complicated to execute through internet self-service. The new focus for organisations seeking to maximising service satisfaction and efficiency needs to be complex self-service which means using supported self-service to help consumers when their interacting online. Some 89% say they want to be able to speak to a real person when online. Web-chat is growing fast, much of it sourced offshore, while co-browsing and video-chat are being piloted by a number of brands.

Have you noticed how previously ‘pure-play’ online brands are now sticking phone numbers on their web-pages? There’s a turn around.

For more information about the Autonomous Customer research please e-mail, thanks.