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Digital Experience is the New Flagship Store in Gladly’s 2021 Customer Expectations Report

Digital Experience is the New Flagship Store in Gladly's 2021 Customer Expectations Report

Last week we released our fifth edition of Gladly’s Customer Expectations Report, a survey of over 1500 customers across the United States to understand their thoughts and behavior when it comes to customer service.  

We dove into what customers expect from their favorite brands when it comes to the online shopping experience and learned how customer service heroes are seen as the new face of the brand. Here’s a peek at some of the key themes we uncovered. 

Customer service continues to be a competitive advantage for brands 

Consumers have had to significantly change the way they shop this year, but customer service still remains the leading factor in deciding a customer’s long-term relationship with a brand.  

In fact, 63% of customers said they fall in love with a brand because of great service and 62% of customers will recommend a brand to a friend because of great service. It’s safe to say that outside of delivering a great product, customers fall in love with brands because of the service they deliver.  

Customers want online self-service

When it comes to shopping online, the survey showed a marked increase in the number of customers who prefer to solve issues themselves without having to talk to a service representative. With self-service trending up, this is a sign for brands to start delivering more information automatically, saving more time for agents to spend on more complicated issues.  

However, the verdict is still out on chatbots when it comes to the online customer experience. Customers’ attitudes toward chatbots had a tendency to change depending on the problem they were trying to solve. The action item for brands: think about how to balance the efficiency of chatbots with the desire for human help.  

Customers will rewards brands who make the online shopping experience effortless

According to our survey, 82% of customers will spend more money on brands that deliver great online customer experience.

Furthermore, customers find the most value in talking to an agent who can tackle more difficult questions and guide them to the best products and options for their needs.

In other words, consultative service is expected.

The top three things customers expect when chatting with a customer service representative about a product is:  

  1. That they are a knowledgeable expert on the product in question 
  2. That they recommend other things they know I will like 
  3. That they spend extra time consulting me on other options 

Live chat finally surpasses email

Customers used their phone for customer service calls 11% less year over year while live chat and text support continued to grow. With more and more brands turning to chat on their website vs. contact forms, customers are leaning more toward chat. 

And don’t forget social! Millennials are using Facebook, Twitter, and Whatsapp for customer service more than any other age group and their preferences for newer digital channels continue to increase.  


As you consider how to keep pace with your customers—both longtime and newly won in this era of the ‘new normal’—we hope 
this information helps you with today’s ever-increasing customer expectations. For more, get your hands on the full 2021 Customer Expectations Report.  


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