Consumers have become increasingly savvy about service and support, their perceptions of a company, and their willingness to share data about themselves if it leads to a better experience, according to new research from digital enterprise software firm Five9 and Zogby Analytics. For businesses, the research validates the correlation between customer satisfaction and a positive customer experience, resulting in customer loyalty and higher customer retention.

Digital transformation has changed how, where and when consumers engage with businesses and what information they are willing to share to ensure a high level of customer service. According to the survey of more than 1,000 consumers in the United States across all age groups, 80 percent of respondents say they are comfortable with a company using their past purchase history if it results in a higher level of customer service, up from 77 percent a year ago.

Despite their increased willingness to share data, their expectations are high

Only 24 percent of respondents are likely to continue doing business with a company if it requires a lot of effort to resolve a problem. Respondents also expect their issues to be resolved quickly: more than three-quarters believe that should happen in 15 minutes or less and 84 percent expect resolution to take no more than 30 minutes.

“Today a single tweet about poor customer service can go viral and have a long-term negative impact on a company’s reputation and image,” said Dan Burkland, president of Five9, in a news release. “Businesses are left in a tough spot. How can they attract and retain customers who have more choices and higher expectations than ever? Businesses need access to insights and data around their customers’ needs, preferences and decision factors. This survey provides validated data that CXOs can use and act upon to improve their organizations’ customer service efforts and exceed today’s customers’ expectations.”

The survey revealed strong behaviors and expectations along the entire customer journey:

The beginning:

  • 90 percent of respondents said price and great customer service were the leading motivators to do business with a company

Throughout the journey:

  • 95 percent said a positive customer service experience is very or somewhat likely to make them continue to do business with a company
  • 44 percent said they are willing to interact with automated chatbots when they are assured that they can speak with a live agent
  • Phone was the preferred method of customer communication (49 percent), followed by email (28 percent) and chat (16 percent)
  • 69 percent were somewhat or very unlikely to continue to do business with a company if it requires a lot of effort to resolve an issue with a company
  • 48 percent said it’s unlikely they will want to do business with a company again if every time they contact a company they have to identify themselves or explain their issue (up from 41 percent in 2017)

The Five9 Customer Service Index 2018 is the second-annual report from Five9 and Zogby Analytics that assesses consumers’ views of the role that customer service plays in their consumer behavior and purchasing decisions. Zogby Analytics surveyed 1,006 consumers, ranging in age from late teens (18) to those in their 70s.

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Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel

Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders.

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