Debunking Customer Service Myths – Understanding What Digital Consumers Really Want

By Blair Pleasant
21 Nov 2018

Digital transformation has changed the way consumers engage with businesses, with customer expectations forcing organizations to re-evaluate the way they provide service and customer care. Regardless of age, gender, or other demographics, today’s customers have similar expectations when it comes to customer service – they want the organizations they do business with to be responsive and effective. Going beyond merely servicing customers, businesses need to focus on customer satisfaction and providing a positive customer experience.

Taking steps to improve customer service throughout the customer journey will help your organization improve the overall customer experience, ultimately leading to greater frequency of repeat purchases, increased revenues, and reduced costs.

The first steps include understanding and acting on consumer preferences to help your organization better meet your customers’ changing needs and expectations. Do you know which channels your customers prefer when it comes to customer service? What about your millennial customers? What does it take to keep a customer loyal – or what will cause customers to move to your competitors? Understanding consumer preferences, as well as industry best practices, will help guide business decisions when it comes to customer support and the contact center.

To help businesses better understand customers’ needs and expectations, Five9 once again commissioned Zogby Analytics to conduct an online survey to assess consumers’ views of the role that customer service plays in their consumer behavior and purchasing decisions. Building on top of the initial survey in 2017, Zogby surveyed 1,006 consumers ranging in age from late teens to those in their 70s. Once again, the research validates the correlation between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty, while identifying what consumers are really looking for, where there are gaps between expectations and reality, and how businesses can better meet customers’ needs.

Survey Key Findings

Survey participants shared their views about customer service and loyalty factors, including:

  • Communication and channel preferences for customer support
  • Factors contributing to a good customer service experience - and a poor customer service experience
  • Decision factors for choosing or switching companies
  • Perceptions of product and service quality and willingness to do business
  • The importance of mobile access for customer service
  • Attitudes towards self service and chatbots

Some of the findings were surprising, while some reinforced what we already know. Customer service matters. Consumers are more demanding than ever, and today’s savvy digital consumers know that if a business doesn’t meet their expectations, there are many others that will. In fact, great customer service tied with pricing as the top decision factor when deciding to do business with a company. 90 percent of survey respondents say that great customer is very or somewhat important, while bad customer service is often a deal-breaker.

Effort level is also important, as only 23 percent of respondents are likely to continue doing business with a company if it requires a lot of effort to resolve a problem, while 68 percent are unlikely to do so.

Not surprisingly, today’s digital consumers have high expectations when it comes to speed to issue resolution. According to the survey, over three quarters of respondents expect their customer service issues to be resolved in 15 minutes or less.

There were several key findings that shatter established customer service myths – but I won’t give them away in this article. Instead, I encourage you to join me and Five 9 Director, Corporate Communications, Michael Rose in a webinar on Tuesday, December 4 at 11:00 am PT/2:00 ET. We’ll be discussing and debunking three key customer service myths based on the survey results and what we discovered. Here’s a hint about one of the myths – the rumors of the phone’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

Michael and I will discuss some of the key findings, what did and didn’t surprise us, and how businesses can use this information to improve their customer service operations. We’ll provide insights on the key take-aways as well as information on best practices related to social media, web chat, and more.

Today’s digital consumers are savvier than ever, with high expectations for customer care. By understanding consumers’ preferences and expectations, businesses can use today’s technologies to better serve customers and meet these changing expectations.

I hope you’ll join us on December 4.

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