7.ai's recent survey of 3,500 customers globally (including 1,200 in the UK) has once again shone a spotlight on the way we live, shop and communicate in today's 'always connected' world. The results of the UK results (outlined in this blog) highlight the reality that today's customers have far higher expectations and are far harder to please than their counterparts from even a few years ago. Today's customer is better informed, harder to please and less inclined to be loyal to one supplier if they can find a better deal somewhere else. So what do the results tells us?
We're A Smartphone And A Tablet Society
The research found that nine out of ten people (90%) own both a tablet and a smartphone and that ninety six percent of people use at least three channels to resolve an issue and get the information they want. Over three quarters (78%) of consumers will cross channels and over two thirds (68%) will change devices if they cannot complete their task via their first channel of choice and their first device of choice. Perhaps not surprisingly, today's customers are not shy about changing channels and devices when it suits them and suppliers need to make those channels and device-ready services available if they don't want to miss out.
People Hate Bad IVR
Customers hate bad service, but even more than that they hate bad Interactive Voice Response (IVR) telephone systems. Thirty five percent of people who had ended a business relationship because of poor customer service cited frustration with IVR as the reason for their switch. Drilling down on this figure, 26% cited long waiting times and 10% stated agents that do not have the right information, as being the worst offenders. Older people - forty-five percent of the Greatest Generation (those born 1910 – 1925) and Baby Boomers (those born 1946 and 1964) who took their business elsewhere due to poor customer service said IVR was their biggest complaint.
Millennials Are Super Impatient
Millennials (those born around 1980 to 2000) are not just an empowered generation, but also an impatient one. Their desire for speed and efficiency cannot be underestimated. The need for speedy satisfaction, or as some might say 'instant gratification', cuts through virtually all of their service expectations and the majority found that waiting too long was the main driver in switching to another supplier.
Overall, the eighty one percent of customers who said they would change their supplier due to poor customer service, said that they would do so within a week (33%), the same day (21%), instantly (18%) and within a month (16%).
Not All Suppliers Are Equal
Tolerance for some companies is noticeably higher in some industry sectors than for others, possibly because it's easier to switch some sorts of suppliers and there is a higher number of alternatives available. When asked which types of companies customers had ended their business relationships with in the past 12 months because of poor customer service, the answers were as follows:
Insurance companies (23%), utility companies (22%), retail banking (22%), retailers (19%), ISPs (18%) and wireless/mobile providers (17%). Least likely to leave for another supplier are customers of healthcare insurance providers (6%), investment and securities firms (5%) and healthcare providers (3%).
When customers were asked what types of interactions they wanted to experience when dealing with suppliers, 29% viewed a company's ability to anticipate their needs (via predictive analytics) as an example of a great customer service experience. This was the top answer, followed by mobile chat (20%) and the ability to apply the context (past history) from website interactions to a phone call (19%). The ability to use predictive analytics to predict trends and behaviour patterns and anticipate intent on what customers might be enquiring about, before they've even asked, is a potential customer service game changer and can affect net promoter scores (NPS), brand satisfaction, recommend likelihood, repurchase likelihood, and so on.
So, what is the overall lesson that we can we learn from these results? Well, customer-centric organisations must make it easier for customers to connect with them, wherever and whenever they want to. In today's 'always available' society, your business needs to respond with a seamless and consistent customer experience and have the right tools available in order to quickly and easily access information to respond to queries.
Find out more by downloading the infographic, 'So Many Channels, So Little Time: Insight Into the Omnichannel Journey'.