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New research reveals an alarming customer experience decline, and consumers say AI is making things worse—marketers’ efforts need refining

by | Jun 19, 2024 | Public Relations

The seamless customer experience has become marketing’s insurmountable hill—despite all the technology that explicitly offers potential solutions, communicators keep struggling with this fundamental concept. But with the help of AI, things are getting better, right? Unfortunately, no—in fact, new research from customer management industry-focused market intelligence firm Customer Management Practice (CMP) revealed an unexpected trend of customer experiences regressing in the age of AI, rather than improving. 

The new research report, CX Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities—released by the firm’s CCW Digital and based on its annual consumer preferences survey conducted in May 2024 of 530 adult American consumers on their sentiments, preferences, and purchasing habits—underscores a critical reality for businesses: despite efforts to compete on customer experience and foster a culture of customer-centricity, most consumers feel that their experiences have regressed over the past year. 

customer experience

Key findings include:

customer experience Only 7 percent of consumers feel experiences have improved over the past year

In addition, a troubling 55 percent feel they have worsened. Nearly 60 percent of consumers say they share details of bad experiences with personal contacts, while 29 percent actively rant about poor performance on social media. Other consumer reactions include attempting to switch providers (48 percent) and writing negative reviews (39 percent).

Only 26 percent of consumers expect to reach a successful resolution using messaging

An even smaller 17 percent have faith in the value of a chatbot/web self-service interaction.

Only 19 percent of consumers feel they can immediately access help from a human agent

And when given the opportunity to speak with an agent, a mere 24 percent believe that the typical customer service employee is happy, engaged, and knowledgeable.

customer experienceOver a third of consumers will take their complaints directly to the company’s contact center

This burdens agents with inefficient, hostile conversations.

“Our survey for 2024 highlights a stark regression in customer experiences. This study highlights a critical insight: despite the advancements in AI, the essence of customer experience hinges on genuine human connection,” said Mario Matulich, president of CMP, in a news release. “Technology should enhance, not replace, the empathy and responsiveness that define exceptional service. These findings are a wake-up call for businesses to harmonize technological innovation with human-centric strategies to elevate customer satisfaction and loyalty.”

Alarmingly, AI technology, once hailed as a transformative solution, is exacerbating the issue

In fact, in the eyes of the customer, the most notable mistake concerns the absence of the human touch. A staggering 52 percent say it is difficult to reach a live agent, establishing lack of humanity as the #1 pain point in 2024.

customer experience“In a time when AI and automation promise so much, it’s concerning that businesses are still missing the mark on delivering meaningful customer experiences. The reliance on technology without the balance of human touch has increased frustration among consumers,” said Brian Cantor, managing director of CCW Digital, in the release. “Truly customer-centric brands—those that design experiences from the outside-in—have a unique opportunity to improve key contact center metrics and build significant brand cachet.”

Download the full report here.

To conduct its inquiry into the state of customer experiences, CCW Digital conducted its annual Consumer Preferences Survey in May 2024. The survey polled 530 US-based adults on their sentiments, preferences, and purchasing habits. The results were released during CMP’s flagship Customer Contact Week taking place at Caesars Forum in Las Vegas from June 3-6, 2024. Customer Contact Week is produced by CMP and is the leading conference dedicated to providing expert insight into exceptional customer service. 

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 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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