Customer service standards slipping as UK consumers turn their back on AI chatbots

LONDON (18 April 2024) – The quality of customer service is falling and UK adults are increasingly turning their back on automated systems and chatbots for resolving issues, according to new research released today by Cavell, a leading research and consulting firm.

Cavell’s 2024 Voice of the Consumer Report surveyed over 1,000 adults across the UK, with the findings revealing that close to half (44%) of consumers think the quality of customer service is worse now than three years ago.

Additionally, over a third (35%) of adults in the UK feel that chatbots and automated systems are bad at customer service. As a result, half of UK consumers feel that speaking to a human is still the fastest and best way to resolve a customer service issue and receive a positive outcome.

Finbarr Begley, Senior Analyst at Cavell, commented: “Consumers are growing increasingly frustrated with customer service. Automated systems are seen as the solution but the huge differences in quality across systems like chatbots result in consumers getting more frustrated than helped. Expectations on the technology are soaring, fuelled by the AI narratives in the media, but the reality isn’t there yet.”

The research also revealed that:

Over three quarters (79%) of UK adults prefer to receive customer service from someone located in their own country
45% of consumers have ignored an issue with a product or service because they would have had to interact with customer service
More than a third of UK adults would pay for a ‘premium’ customer service add-on featuring benefits such as prioritised response, personalised service and a dedicated point of contact

Begley added: “Added to the growth in consumer expectations on customer service, is the increased focus on deflection techniques to try and get consumers to self-solve issues. This is being done to reduce customer service costs but also means that consumers cannot easily reach a human agent even when they know they need to. This will continue to ease over the next few years as automated systems improve, and companies continue to add more methods of contacting them to their platforms.”

Cavell’s 2024 Voice of the Consumer Report is available for free download here.


Survey Methodology

Cavell surveyed 1,019 consumers across the UK ranging from 16-55+ in age at the start of 2024. All respondents had interacted with a business or organisation for customer service or had shopped online in the last six months.

About Cavell

Cavell is a leading research and consulting firm specialising in the telecommunications industry with a particular focus on business communications technologies including UCaaS, collaboration, contact centre and customer engagement software, business messaging, and Microsoft Teams.

Cavell provides insights, analysis, and advisory services to help their clients navigate and succeed in these rapidly evolving sectors.

Cavell’s team combines years of accumulated telecoms industry experience with enterprise and SMB surveys and proven market intelligence to provide a suite of services including market research, commercial and technical due diligence, strategy advisory services and leading industry events. 

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