Brand loyalty has never been so fickle—according to new research from intelligent cloud provider Five9, 30 percent of survey respondents left brands they had previously been loyal to in the last year, and one in four said their contact center experience has gotten worse since the start of the pandemic.
“For most companies, losing 30 percent of their customers would be extremely detrimental,” said Blair Pleasant, president and principal analyst of COMMfusion, who authored the CSI research report, in a news release. “The contact center remains the front door for businesses, and service leaders must do what they can to retain customer loyalty and goodwill.”
Now in its fifth year, the firm’s Customer Service Index provides data and insights to help businesses better understand what’s happening in the world of customer experience (CX) so that they can better meet their customers’ changing needs and expectations. Five9 partnered with Zogby Analytics to survey consumers about the state of customer service and explore how attitudes and behaviors have evolved over the past year.
As a consumer, what makes a good customer experience?
In many cases, the survey results highlight key differences based on geography and age. For example, 40 percent of respondents aged 18-29 are more willing to use social media for customer service, compared with 14 percent of 50-64 year olds, and 9 percent of respondents 65 and over.
Another key insight about channel preferences is the prevalence of phone or voice as the favored means of communication. Across all geographies and age groups, phone continues to be the leading channel of choice for respondents, particularly for sensitive issues, followed by email and online chat. However, unfortunately, more than two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents acknowledge that it is still difficult or time-consuming to find the information they need to reach out to a contact center, which leads to frustration.
As a consumer, what makes a bad customer experience?
Respondents were also asked which factors most negatively impact the customer experience. “Being passed from one representative to another” (34 percent) and “having to wait too long to reach a representative” (26 percent) were the biggest offenders.
When asked which factors are most important to creating a positive experience, the number one response was “getting the right answer from a representative, even if it takes more time” (33 percent).
How has your willingness to use social media platforms (i.e. Twitter) to contact customer service changed over the past year?
“Empowering agents with the right information and the ability to solve customers’ issues without passing them to other agents and departments reduces customer frustration,” said Scott Kolman, Five9 senior vice president of marketing, in the release. “For example, integrating contact center and unified communications capabilities allows agents to easily connect to company experts and get the additional insights they may need to answer a customer’s question without transferring the call. With the right tools and technologies, businesses can deliver a more satisfying experience.”
The 2021 survey was expanded to include several European countries—including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.K. to help identify regional variances, and trends.