They say good CX is all about communication, and while businesses and consumers agree on that, brands and companies seem to have a different interpretation of a satisfying experience compared to their customers. Indeed, new research from conversational AI solutions firm 7.ai shows a wide gap between the customer experience that businesses think they provide and what consumers actually experience.
Earlier this year, the firm partnered with Dimensional Research to examine perceptions around the quality of customer service. The study found that what companies believe they are delivering does not align with the quality of service that customers say they receive. This is particularly true when it comes to automated customer service. For instance, while many of the surveyed companies felt the transition between their automated systems and human agents was seamless, nearly 90 percent of customers disagreed.
Additionally, while 89 percent of companies believe that their automated systems understand customer intent, only half of customers felt the same. The study showed that human voice and chat agents remain far more effective at resolving issues than automated services, and in nearly half of the cases handled by automated systems, customers had to resort to other support channels to resolve their issues.
Key findings of the research:
Consumers aren’t as happy with customer experiences as businesses think are
Eighty-nine percent having to repeat information to a human that they already provided to an automated system. Only a slight majority, 54 percent of consumers felt that automated systems understood their intent. Nearly one third of consumers surveyed have stopped doing business with a company as a direct result of poor customer support.
Customer behaviors are changing rapidly
With more companies doing business online, 68 percent of customers report that COVID-19 has already changed the way they interact with the businesses they patronize. The most common change has been an increase in the use of digital chat.
Both businesses and consumers are optimistic about new technologies
Nearly every company surveyed (98 percent) said that they plan to implement new technology-enabled customer support capabilities over the next 2 years. Artificial intelligence, visual sharing, and asynchronous messaging provide a promising path forward.
The report also features several actionable recommendations to help companies bridge the gap with consumers and prepare for the future.
“This is the first research that we have seen that directly compares and contrasts business perceptions with consumer perceptions on customer experience,” said Lisa Matherly, vice president of marketing at 7.ai, in a news release. “When Dimensional Research completed its study, one of the findings really stood out—that customers aren’t nearly as happy with the support they are getting as businesses think they are. But this report doesn’t just look at the problems. We include several actions that businesses can take today to improve customer.
The new report, The CX Reality Check – Research, Revelations and the Route Forward, is based on surveys of 500 customer experience leaders across Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, contrasted with 500 consumers in those same markets.