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Most communications, media customers loyal—but can brands keep them?

by | Jan 29, 2018 | Public Relations

Nearly two-thirds of consumers are loyal to their communications (63 percent) and media (66 percent) providers, having stayed with them for more than three years—despite signs this could change quickly if brands don’t adapt to customer experience demands, new research from Conduent Incorporated finds.

According to the firm’s report, The State of Customer Experience 2017, while communications and media brands should be encouraged by loyalty, they need to recognize nearly half (47 percent for communications, 48 percent for media) of their customers say they have no problem ditching their provider for the right reason, including rewards, recommendations from friends and family, or the promise of better service.

These days, consumers expect their customer experience interactions to be similar to how they communicate in their personal lives. For example, they want to converse with their phone provider about a billing question on social media or chat online with their media company about when the next season of their favorite show will be released.

Most communications, media customers loyal—but can brands keep them?

Old school wins

Brands have reacted to this demand by offering virtual assistants and self-help tools to solve problems. But only 10 percent of media consumers are actually satisfied with the help they receive via these digital channels, with communications respondents sharing, in surprising news, that an old-school phone call is a three times better experience than interacting with a brand’s digital care services.

“We’re encouraged to see high loyalty rankings, especially relationships lasting more than three years, but without immediately improving digital experiences, brands are at risk, particularly in the competitive communications and media worlds,” said Christine Landry, group chief executive of Consumer & Industrials, in a news release. “This is especially critical to attract and grow younger clientele, and secure long-time customers.”

The new media incentive

New on-demand media brands are looking to disrupt the status quo with a digitally focused strategy, requiring established brands to embrace this path or risk losing market share. With new services becoming available every day raising the churn rate, media companies need to be mindful of an 18 percent decline in customers believing their provider understands them, from 49 percent in 2015 (when the survey was first conducted), to 40 percent in 2017. During this time, overall engagement also dropped 17 percent.

Most communications, media customers loyal—but can brands keep them?

Communications app use rises

Communications consumers prefer traditional (58 percent) to digital channels (42 percent) for contacting a brand; however, overall digital channel usage has increased 50 percent since 2015, driven by social media and on-device help apps. The survey also found communications brands have 10 minutes or less across the majority of channels to resolve a customer’s question if they want to make a significant impact on satisfaction levels.

Other key findings:

  • “Tradigital” communications: Today’s consumers are considered “tradigital” communicators with media and communications brands, with 80 percent of questions coming through four or more channels.
  • Instant gratification: Two-thirds of customers expect their question to be answered within the hour.
  • Satisfaction fading: Despite high loyalty rates, total satisfaction has dropped 10 percent for media companies and 11 percent for communications since 2015.

The future

Brands must address these digital experience pitfalls now, before embracing the future needs of customers, who will soon expect proactive outreach regarding problems they’re experiencing and a highly customized experience. For example, customers might expect automated call center responses from a simulated favorite celebrity or sports star.

Read the full report here.

The study was conducted via an online panel in August and September 2017 on behalf of Conduent and surveyed 6,000 consumers in the United States (2,400), the U.K. (1,200), Germany (1,200) and the Netherlands (1,200). The study is available in three editions: Technology, Communications and Media. Conduent measured the state of customer experience in the same industries in its Customer Experience 2015 study.

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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. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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