As consumers rethink their relationships with companies today, new research from Talkdesk, a CX leader for customer-focused companies, finds that loyalty is being disrupted. Although loyalty today is primarily driven by companies’ ability to resolve customer issues on first contact, it will increasingly be shaped by how effectively customer service represents the company in a broader social context.
According to the firm’s latest report, The Future of Customer Loyalty, the pandemic’s disruption to the traditional stability of consumer loyalty has created new opportunities for companies to gain or lose loyal customers. For example, 57 percent of consumers agree that their loyalty has grown with companies that helped their customers during the pandemic. However, the ensuing supply chain crisis is threatening brand loyalty, as 39 percent of consumers report being more likely to purchase from alternative companies than those they have traditionally been loyal to.
Resolving consumer needs on first contact is still the primary driver of consumer loyalty today. However, that will likely change as younger consumers, who develop loyalty based on a company’s position on social issues, sustainability, and diversity, compel companies to rethink how customer service represents the organization beyond a support context alone.
The research shows 46 percent of Gen Z consumers stopped buying from a company in the past year due to the company’s stance on social issues, compared to 35 percent of consumers overall. Fifty-three percent of Gen Z respondents also say they started buying from a company specifically due to the company’s diversity in customer service.
As customer service’s influence grows in building loyalty, the contact center is taking on a new role in driving additional revenue through customer engagement. More than two thirds (67 percent) of organizations report that their contact center is transforming—or has already been transformed—into a profit center.
“This new year, consider a resolution to revisit how the contact center fits into your organization’s consumer loyalty strategy. The role of the contact center has transcended beyond basic customer support to addressing broader questions of central importance to many,” said David Gardner, vice president of research and insights at Talkdesk, in a news release. “This means the role of agents will have to evolve to become a central part of customer loyalty and shift to performing more proactive and thoughtful engagement.”
In this new context, the role of agents will be elevated to brand ambassadors who are able to deeply understand and proactively respond to consumer needs. By 2025, 98 percent of organizations plan to implement some level of proactive customer engagement in the contact center. Strong employee engagement and retention strategies and investments will be key to ensuring the success of these efforts.
This report is based primarily on three quantitative online surveys fielded in 2021. Survey 1 was conducted with 650 CX professionals in July 2021 across 10 different global markets. The margin of error for this quantitative study has been calculated at +/- 3.8 percent using a 95 percent confidence interval. Survey 2 was conducted with 365 CX professionals in August 2021 across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. The margin of error for this quantitative study has been calculated at +/- 5.1 percent using a 95 percent confidence interval. The third survey, fielded in October 2021, sampled 5,513 consumers between 18 to 75 years of age and across 12 different global markets. The margin of error for this quantitative study has been calculated at +/- 1.3 percent using a 95 percent confidence interval.