Customer service continues to be an Achilles heel for many brands and businesses. New research from Oracle Communications shows that consumers are fed up with poor customer engagement experiences and outdated approaches to customer service, with 68 percent noting they would buy more from brands that put service back in customer service.
Most consumers polled said that the ability to connect immediately to the relevant associate, interact via digital channels such as HD voice, video and/or screen sharing, and to receive contextual, personalized service, would increase convenience and improve their overall experience.
The study, Modern Experiences for Connected Consumers: Creating Digital Customer Engagement, reveals that brands that are able to quickly capitalize on this shift can expect a 25 to 30 percent increase in loyalty from their customers.
“Customers are a company’s most critical asset, but in a quest for efficiency, customer engagement has become less aware and overly impersonal,” said Doug Suriano, senior vice president and general manager at Oracle Communications, in a news release. “Modern engagement technologies that proactively engage customers at the right time across web and mobile using contextual voice, video and screen sharing, or that can transition a chatbot conversation to live assistance coupled with machine learning and AI, have the ability to transform how customers interact with their brands—delivering meaningful resolutions with the personal touch that customers desire.”
The survey also found that of the consumers polled:
- 75 percent perceive that modern engagement capabilities will enhance their experience
- 79 percent want their issues to be resolved in one interaction
- 76 percent will use a company that can minimize menu selections and get them to the right individual quickly
- 68 percent felt modern engagement capabilities expanded their options for interacting with brands, helping make engagements contextual
- 75 percent recognize the value and efficiency of voice and video chat
Modern engagement technologies improve experiences and ROI
The survey polled 5,028 consumers across regions and industries to understand their sentiment on modern customer engagement. The results highlighted the critical need to modernize and personalize customer engagement. For example, 51 percent of those polled cited long wait times and 41 percent cited unresolved issues as the top reasons for an unsatisfactory experience. Seventy-seven percent noted that these kinds of experiences detracted from their quality of life.
The survey also showed that consumers are becoming more comfortable interacting across a growing list of digital channels that can offer a more streamlined, personal and high-touch approach. Consumers recognize the value and efficiency of these new mediums in shortening time to resolutions, addressing problems, or adopting new services, such as opening a new banking account digitally.
However, the efficiency and simplicity that can come from automated digital engagement channels did not mitigate consumers’ desire for—and the perceived value of—human intuition. Customers instead indicated that blending automated technologies with emerging mechanisms for in-app brand interactions that personalize interactions, including video, screen sharing, chat and other contextual voice communications, will deliver the degree of personal contact they are seeking.
The survey also found that:
Age doesn’t matter
Millennials are naturally inclined to adopt new digital ways of communicating and view the traditional engagement channels that require a menu of options and constant repetition to be tedious and inefficient. At the same time, the research showed that consumers aged 35 and older also see the value and efficiency that can be derived from modern digital engagement capabilities for interacting with companies.
Modern engagement can transform interactions across all industries
Consumers across industries felt their experience would be enhanced through modern engagement methods, including: cable (80 percent), insurance (78 percent), banking loans (66 percent), healthcare (72 percent), and online retail (68 percent). For example, in the case of cable operators, truck rolls to customers’ homes are costly to deliver and inconvenient to the customer, who often has to wait at home. A modern engagement experience leveraging an interactive video session could eliminate a truck roll, enable immediate problem resolution, and hence increased loyalty. Go here for a deeper industry perspective.
Preferred engagement channels vary by region
Consumers customer service requirements, expectations and desired mediums varied across regions:
- North America:Human contact and efficient issue resolution resulting from modern engagement capabilities were cited as the most important benefits, with consumers expressing they were “extremely satisfied” with both in-person and video engagement.
- Europe:Consumers are most receptive to modern engagement capabilities, including video chat, mobile apps, and web chat, recognizing the value and efficiency of modern engagement capabilities more than in other regions.
- Australia/New Zealand:Consumers are more satisfied with mobile app, kiosk and web chat among modern engagement channels. Though consumers felt more engaged as a result of modern capabilities, they demonstrated they’d be less likely to act on that engagement as compared to other regions. Go here for a deeper regional feedback.
Regardless of the region, the study consistently showed that customers feel more valued by brands if they have a diversity of choices in how they can interact, whether through personalized or automated channels. When the number of options for interactions expand, so too does the feeling of satisfaction with customers.