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Consumers In Fast Growing Economies Have Highest Customer Contact Expectations

‘Autonomous Customers’ are happy to self-serve, but expect instant and excellent service through multiple channels when needed

  • 85 per cent of people believe it should be easier to contact organisations
  • Only 1 in 5 consumers have their issue resolved by their first interaction with an organisation
  • 88 per cent of consumers would be more loyal to organisations that are easier to deal with

Guildford, UK – July 6, 2015 – Consumers in fast growing economies – such as India and China – are setting the standard for customer contact. They are leading the way in expecting to communicate with organisations in a number of different ways, and to switch between communication channels as their conversation progresses.

Organisations should always offer different channels to meet my needs

91 per cent


89 per cent


88 per cent


87 per cent


86 per cent


84 per cent


82 per cent


79 per cent


69 per cent


58 per cent

The findings are revealed in a new global report commissioned by BT and Avaya: ‘Autonomous Customer 2015: On hold for Intelligent Customer Service.’ In its fifth year, the independent report covers 10 countries and is based on the responses of 5,500 consumers.

The phrase ‘Autonomous Customer’ describes consumers that access online information to research and investigate buying decisions. They use websites and mobile apps to ‘self-serve,’ preferring to stay in control and interact with organisations on their own terms.

Globally, seventy per cent of those contacting organisations through social media expect a response within fifteen minutes, with two thirds expecting their social media comments and queries to be answered through the same platform.

Consumers in India (88 per cent), UAE (87 per cent) and Indonesia (80 per cent) are far more likely to turn to Facebook for service than in the UK (53 per cent), Belgium (48 per cent) or Germany (40 per cent).

Similarly video-chat is a common expectation in India (81 per cent), China (78 per cent) and Indonesia (74 per cent) compared to the UK (52 per cent), Germany (45 per cent) and Belgium (40 per cent).

“Organisations have to align themselves with rapidly changing consumer expectations,” says Dr Nicola Millard, head of customer insight and futures, BT Global Services. “Transactional websites and mobile apps – along with social media – put organisations in the position of having to support customers 24/7. The digital world lives ‘in the moment’ and puts consumers in control. Customer service has to follow suit.”

Crucially, customers want to be able to move seamlessly from channel to channel when it suits them. Most in demand is being able be communicate with customer support while online (71 per cent), typically web-chat. Also popular is the ability to switch from social media to the telephone (63 per cent) and the ability to move from webchat to telephone (62 per cent). Only one in three feel organisations currently make it easy to switch between channels.

“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,” says Garry Veale, president, Europe, Avaya.

Expectations are high. 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 organisations that strike the right customer service balance, as autonomous customers are shown to buy more from organisations that are easy to deal with; leading to repeat spend and brand loyalty.

I buy more from organisations that make it easier
China – 90 per cent India – 84 per cent UAE – 83 per cent USA – 82 per cent Singapore – 81 per cent
Indonesia – 79 per cent UK – 73 per cent Belgium – 72 per cent Germany – 68 per cent Spain – 50 per cent

About the research
This research was commissioned by BT Global Services and Avaya and carried out by Davies Hickman Partners. For this latest iteration of the study, a total of over 5,500 consumers were surveyed in Belgium, China, Germany, Indonesia, India, Singapore, Spain, UAE, UK and USA.

Autonomous Customer 2015: On hold for Intelligent Customer Service is available from:

About BT
BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of five customer-facing lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2015, BT Group’s reported revenue was £17,979m with reported profit before taxation of £2,645m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information, visit

About Avaya
Avaya is a leading provider of solutions that enable customer and team engagement across multiple channels and devices for better customer experience, increased productivity and enhanced financial performance. Its world-class contact center and unified communications technologies and services are available in a wide variety of flexible on-premises and cloud deployment options that seamlessly integrate with non-Avaya applications. The Avaya Engagement Environment enables third parties to create and customize business applications for competitive advantage. Avaya’s fabric-based networking solutions help simplify and accelerate the deployment of business critical applications and services. For more information please visit

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