DUBAI: Businesses with an easy-to-use customer service process that is available across a range of platforms can generate more sales and brand loyalty from UAE consumers a new report has said.

A study from telecom company BT and comms solution business Avaya – Autonomous Customer 2015: On hold for Intelligent Customer Service – surveyed 5,500 people in ten countries, looking at the attitudes of consumers who research and make buying decisions online.

Over the ten markets, only one in five customers contacting a business reported getting first-time resolution – "that's a huge problem", according to Nicola Millard, head of customer insight & futures at the BT Global Innovation team.

But there are real business results for those companies that get it right. In the UAE, for example, 89% of consumers bought more from businesses who had made the customer service process easy, while 83% were loyal to such businesses, AME Info reported.

Part of simplifying customer service involved understanding how they preferred to communicate and the study reported that UAE consumers were among the most tech-savvy in the world, making extensive use of social media channels and other new communications platforms.

For example they were 20% more active on Facebook than the global average and 30% per cent more active on WhatsApp.

They were also found to be more active on Skype than consumers elsewhere, with half of UAE respondents using it several times a week.

Consequently they were unwilling to settle for a simple call centre option when interacting with companies and brands. Nine in ten expected to be offered a variety of channels to communicate with organisations.

Some 83% preferred to post a customer service comment on Facebook, for example, while 78% expressed interest in using Skype to speak to an agent.

"Organisations have to align themselves with rapidly changing consumer expectations," said Wael El Kabbany, vp/MENA at BT, adding that convenience is now seen as a top priority.

"For the autonomous customer, convenience means flexible, multichannel support, whereby customers can communicate with an organisation using the channel which works best for them," he added.

It is an area that never stands still, as the research indicated UAE consumers were interested in new options such as interactive voice recordings with smartphone screen visuals (84%) and being able to switch from social media to phones in a continuous conversation with one agent (81%).

Data sourced from AME Info; additional content by Warc staff