FLORHAM, Park, N.J. – A new study finds that despite increased options for digital customer communications, the ability of companies to meet consumer expectations for sales, service and experience is on the wane, according to The Shelby Report.
Research by Conduent, Inc., a digital interactions company, found the stakes are high: 58% of customers in the retail, technology, communications and media industries say they are likely or willing to change brands to seek better experiences, a 12% increase over 2017.
Although customers expect high-quality, consistent service across multiple channels, the survey reports that brands are falling short of these expectations, with one in four consumers believing that brand experiences have not improved in the last decade.
In addition, 61% of consumers surveyed prefer to resolve their own issues rather than work with a company representative, an increase of 12% since last year. Customers expect brands to provide support, such as FAQ pages and digital assistants to empower them to do so quickly; 66% of consumers want a 10-minute resolution to any issue.
Some of the barriers of satisfaction that consumers mentioned were insufficient detail in the FAQs (12%) and the lack of a solution posted online (23%), which forced them to contact customer service.
Eighty-one percent of all customer interactions with businesses in the future will be digital, the study claims, but individuals have varied preferred communication channels, and they expect businesses to be consistently available via all of those channels. For example, 11% of respondents from the technology industry have contacted a business via text. Plus, consumers have interacted with a business via Facebook (15%), Twitter (14%) and email (25%).
“The results of this year’s report are a wake-up call for brands,” said Christine Landry, group chief executive, Conduent, consumer & industrials. “It’s no longer a matter of if companies implement technologies like artificial intelligence, but when. There is a great opportunity to apply automation across digital platforms to break down data silos between channels and offer the immediacy, individualization and intelligence that make up a great customer experience.”