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Research reveals that consumers crave a more sensible approach to customer service in the contact centre

  • Organisations must ensure they have the most personalised contact centre system in place to gain competitive advantage
  • 76% of UK consumers rate technology over call centre agents for secure payments, but “human touch” is still critical to overall customer satisfaction
  • Voice is still a preferred channel for consumers, but 81% are comfortable using Interactive Voice Response systems

Guildford, UK, 3rd July, 2013 – Research reveals that UK consumers don’t value a wholesale approach to customer service in the contact centre, instead wanting different types and levels of technology involvement depending on the nature of interactions and their seriousness. The conclusions come from a report commissioned by Avaya, the global provider of business collaboration and communications services, and Sabio, the contact centre technology specialist, which surveyed 2,000 UK consumers.

The results show that businesses are missing an opportunity to gain competitive advantage through their strategic approach to customer service. Consumers want more stringent technology and automation for more sensitive interactions, but not for all of them. For example, 81% said they are comfortable using Interactive Voice Response (IVR) when dealing with financial matters, while 55% of respondents would be happy using voice biometric technology when checking their account balance. But only a minority (35%) see biometrics as an option for more general and less sensitive tasks such as renewing car insurance.

Similarly, while consumers’ enthusiasm for self-service and new media remains strong, they still appreciate personal interactions with agents to get the appropriate support and assistance when dealing with more complex services and products. With 60% of organisations now asking for security details when there is no need, it’s hardly surprising that one in two consumers becomes frustrated with call centre agents when there are security or identity problems.  Once connected, if the transaction involves payment, only 5% of consumers think speaking to an agent in a UK call centre is secure, and this reduces to just 2% for overseas call centres.

As well as highlighting an openness to embrace numerous contact centre technologies, the research also delivers six important insights into consumer feeling about data breaches and the risk of payment and identity security within contact centres.

These six insights are:

  • We’re only human: consumers show definite preference for brands that make it easier for them to go through identification and verification when making payments
  • Work-arounds: consumers regularly jeopardise their own personal data security to make their lives easier
  • B+ for effort: consumers try hard to take care of their personal data
  • Alias-mania: consumers often try to hide their true identities when dealing with businesses
  • The long number: consumers are worried about sharing their personal and payments data verbally over the phone
  • Who’s to blame?: consumers are aware that they need to protect themselves from fraud, but feel that organisations (merchants and acquiring banks particularly) should shoulder more responsibility and are the weak link

“There is still a very strong role for voice in the contact centre as it offers unrivalled versatility in solving complex queries and a key gateway for those who are not online - nearly 20% of the UK population. That said, technical solutions to address concerns about fraud and data security are also critical. In essence, UK businesses need to listen to their customers, assess their corporate requirements and look at the demands being placed on them through their customer service channels, and from there determine the right strategy and solutions to meet their customer service needs.” -- SIMON CULMER, MANAGING DIRECTOR, UK, AVAYA

“Organisations are clearly experiencing real friction between their demanding compliance processes and an ongoing commitment to providing consumers with a positive customer experience. The good news is that the two goals aren’t mutually incompatible: at Sabio our role is to apply innovative technologies such as voice biometrics, speech analytics and PCI payment solutions to help achieve the dual goals of increased compliance and reduced customer frustration. Applied correctly, these technologies can help organisations tick both boxes.” -- KENNETH HITCHEN, FOUNDING DIRECTOR, SABIO

For further information, the full research report is available on request.

About Avaya
Avaya is a global provider of business collaboration and communications solutions, providing unified communications, contact centers, networking and related services to companies of all sizes around the world. For more information please visit

About Sabio:
Sabio is a specialist contact centre and unified communications systems integrator focused on delivering exceptional customer contact strategies and solutions based on best-of-breed technologies from leading organisations such as Avaya, Nuance and Verint. Sabio offers business consulting, systems integration and managed services and has worked with many major organisations across the UK including Argos, Brewin Dolphin, BT Business, Business Stream, Eurostar, Leeds City Council, Office Depot, Scottish Widows and Thames Water. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter at

About the Survey:
Sabio and Avaya commissioned Davies Hickman Partners, an independent research consultancy, to complete a nationally representative survey (excluding NI) of 2,035 online consumers in January 2013.


Certain statements contained in this press release are forward-looking statements. These statements may be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "anticipate," "believe," "continue," "could," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "might," "plan," "potential," "predict," "should" or "will" or other similar terminology. We have based these forward-looking statements on our current expectations, assumptions, estimates and projections. While we believe these expectations, assumptions, estimates and projections are reasonable, such forward looking statements are only predictions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control. These and other important factors may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. For a list and description of such risks and uncertainties, please refer to Avaya's filings with the SEC that are available at Avaya disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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Ali Scott
Sabio Marketing
Tel: 0844 412 3000