Brand loyalty is getting tougher—new research from customer engagement firm Verint affirms that consumers want in-the-moment responses and effortless resolution when engaging with brands and deem these essential elements of a good customer experience— and the success or failure of these digital experiences can determine whether that customer stays or defects to another brand.
According to the firm’s new report, The 2022 State of Digital Customer Experience, which highlights new heightened consumer preferences and expectations for digital-first brand engagement following two years of pandemic lockdowns, 78 percent of consumers say they are more likely to be a repeat customer if they had an amazing customer experience on a digital channel, while 64 percent have jumped to a competitor following a poor customer experience.
More than two-thirds of consumers (69 percent) ranked brands responding quickly as the most important, or second-most important aspect of a good customer experience, with 55 percent of consumers agreeing that “effortless” customer experiences are also vital.
The research also shows consumers’ preference for using social and private messaging channels to interact with brands. Consumers under 45 are more than twice as likely as older consumers to have engaged with a brand through public social media channels, and 56 percent of those under 45 prefer digital channels. Likewise, contacting a company via private messaging channels is most common among those under the age of 45, with 50 percent of consumers in that demographic having used private messaging apps such as SMS texting, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to engage with a brand.
The research also contains insights from companies on their plans and key priorities for digital-first engagement in 2022. Thirty-seven percent said messaging channels will have a significant technological impact on their customer experience strategy this year. Notably, Facebook Messenger is the digital messaging channel anticipated to see the greatest customer conversation growth.
Customer patience is wearing thin
The survey reveals several sticking points and struggles with customer service efforts. Consumers typically make multiple attempts to get their questions answered and find having to wait on hold much more frustrating when a company does not understand their interests and “mass-markets” to them. A third of consumers surveyed ranked needing to make multiple attempts to get a simple question answered as the most frustrating aspect of a poor customer experience. The most damaging characteristic to brand loyalty is the amount of effort needed to get a resolution (34 percent), followed by long hold times (25 percent) and bad bot experiences (22 percent).
“Customer patience is wearing thin,” said Heather Richards, Verint’s vice president, GTM strategy, digital-first engagement, in a news release. “Although at one-time, hearing ‘We’re experiencing a high volume of calls,’ invoked a feeling of sympathy, that feeling has quickly been replaced by frustration. Brands have had more than two years to rectify issues relating to high volumes of inbound calls, messages, and queries. Customers now expect swift, effortless engagement on their channel of choice.”
This research is based on a survey of more than 2,000 US consumers aged 18 to 75.