Consumers are (still) king

Consumers hold more power than ever before, not just with their wallet but also with their social networks. With the evolution of how people communicate, companies are working hard to catch up.

In order to understand how customers expectations have evolved, we recently conducted a third-party survey of 1,000 participants ranging from age 18 to 80. Our questions focused on customer service, the overall experience consumers have with companies they do business with, and what their current expectations are.

Customer service drives decisions. Especially when it comes to purchases and loyalty.

Customer service continues to be an important factor in consumer purchasing decisions.

78% said that the quality of customer service was a determining factor in their decision to make a repeat purchase.

Oversharing is the new normal. A good customer experience leads to repeat business and sharing with friends and family.

Consumers are 81% more likely to purchase from a company again if they have had a positive customer service experience with them; 72% likely to tell their friends and family about the experience and 70% likely to recommend those products to others

Like a fine wine, customer loyalty gets better with age.

Older demographics tended to weigh customer service as even more important in their likelihood to purchase from a company again - as high as 85% more likely.

“I want to be treated like a case number, not a person.”

- Said no one, ever.

Because who really wants to be treated like a number? We live in the age of personalized everything and customer service is no different. Consumers want to feel known and cared for.

91% agreed with the statement: “I expect the companies I do repeat business with to have a sense of who I am and my history with the company.”

Today, Two-thirds (67%) of customers say big companies they have a relationship with or have done repeat business with generally treat them like a ticket number rather than a unique customer (33%) when they contact them.

Omnichannel is omnipresent - consumers want to talk to companies on multiple channels.

Consumers use many methods to communicate with friends and family in their personal lives, so they expect to do the same with companies they do business with. Phone and email simply isn’t enough anymore.

Consumers use an average of three different communication channels to interact with companies they do business with.

82% of consumers want to be able to use a variety of methods to communicate with a company's customer service team, not just phone or email.

People want options - they want companies to be where they are. Whether it's phone, text or tweet, the new normal is being on multiple channels, sometimes all at the same time.

Telephone interactions no longer dominate the conversation. Consumers are equally as likely to engage with companies via email (75%) as they are by phone (78%); 33% via live chat; 23% via text message, and 18% via social media.

Consumers don’t want to play the “repeat and recap” game just because they switch channels or agents.

Consumers want and expect companies to know about their prior history with them. And no matter what the channel, they want consistency in their interactions and responses from the company.

Four in five (80%) consumers say continuity in communications is ‘extremely' or ‘very' important, meaning they do not have to repeat themselves multiple times to multiple agents

Just because a conversation moves from text to tweet or email to phone doesn't mean the context should get lost. Consumers expect companies to know about previous sessions even if it was on a different channel. But unfortunately, most don't see their expectations being met.

71% of customers expect that if they switch communication channels mid-conversation, the next person they interacted with would know about previous attempts to resolve their issue.

But the vast majority (75%) experience continuity only some of the time; of that 36% rarely or never experience it. For those that have had positive experiences with consistent responses, only 6% experience continuity in communications when switching between channels all of the time and 19% experience it most of the time.

What's worse than having to repeat yourself to customer service? Handing out parking tickets! If forced to choose, 66% would rather hand out parking tickets than repeat themselves to multiple customer service agents on the same issue.

Go deeper with data

We've only scratched the surface. Download the full report to learn more about what consumers expect from customer service teams today. Armed with this data, companies can justify their continued investments in the overall customer experience and its impact on brand loyalty and revenue. Get the detailed report by sharing some information with us below. (We care about your customer experience too, so we promise not to overload you with email - or text, phone, chat and more.)

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