7.ai’s newly published 2016 Customer Engagement Index surveyed 3500 customers globally, including 1200 U.S. respondents, to understand what drives customer behaviors. Many of us are well aware that the way customers engage with each other and with brands has dramatically shifted, so we took a closer look at exactly what drives these behaviors and how customers across generations feel about the customer service they experience day in and day out.
Rising Customer Expectations Make Poor Customer Service Less Forgiving
The results of our study not only paint an interesting picture, but reinforce a very real issue: customers are more connected than ever before. Yet many enterprises’ approach to customer service and sales is lagging behind today’s modern consumer. It’s no surprise, therefore, that almost half (47%) of customers would take their business to a competitor within a day of experiencing poor customer service, and 4 out of 5 (79%) would do the same within a week.
And poor customer service isn’t just limited to the comical memes that rise to the top of our Twitter feeds or extreme outbursts in a YouTube clip. It can be as simple as asking customers to repeat their information time and again, or start from scratch when they switch from one device or channel to another. In fact, our study shows that customers are channel shifting and device jumping frequently throughout a service journey. If companies don’t invest in modern technology designed with today’s connected customer in mind, they risk falling (very) far behind.
For Inconvenience, Press “1”
The phone remains the most frustrating channel for customer service. With the rise of digital, many companies are looking to improve web and self-service, and forgetting the phone channel, leaving customers to navigate IVR (interactive voice response) systems from an era long gone. And while 64% of consumers do begin their customer service journey on a website, half (32%) pick up the phone when the issue isn’t resolved, only to be trapped in a never-ending IVR loop where reaching a real human seems nearly impossible. Our study shows that this is the leading cause of frustration and churn as it relates to customer service. In fact, over a third (37 percent) of consumers who ended a business relationship did so because they were frustrated with the IVR.
This simply shouldn’t be the case with the technology available to us today. A digitally-advanced IVR understands the customer’s context and predicts why he or she is calling to deliver a personalized, predictive experience.
Your Customers Are Speaking. Are You Listening?
An incredible 86% of consumers surveyed describe a great customer service experience as one of the following: the company anticipates their needs, the self-service is optimal and they’re able to contact the company any way they want. Notice here that easy and efficiency rise to the top of customer wants. Unfortunately, many companies still fail to understand what truly drives customer loyalty, instead prioritizing over-the-top rewards or flashy experiences. Being a customer-centric organization means making it easy for customers to connect with you, on their own terms: wherever they are, however they want and on their channel or device of choice.