The paradox of the smartphone generation is that whilst new products and services are hitting the market at speed, precious brand loyalty keeps decreasing.
Consumers have more choice than ever over which bank or energy company they use, where they buy things or how they get home from a night out. The competition for consumer attention (and money) continues to shift power from institutions to individuals.
It follows that loyalty is increasingly something that can only be earned through excellent customer service on any platform at any time. Here are 14 facts and stats that frame the reasons why customer service is an urgent enterprise need.
Consumers increasingly have a digital outlook
1. Having a smartphone strategy has long-since been a table stake for customer facing enterprises. Management consultancy firm McKinsey, surveyed consumers across a range of vertical sectors. In telecommunications for example, they found that 90% of customer service journeys started digitally, and that 76% of telecommunications customers were satisfied with a customer service journey that was fully digital, compared with 57% satisfaction for interactions through traditional channels like call centers.
Customer service 24/7
2. A recent consumer study by West UC, found that 70% of respondents want more convenient customer service options to support 24/7 lifestyles, whilst 74% agree that it’s frustrating when customer service is only available during working hours. A further 47% would like to see more customer service options tailored toward smartphones.
3. The same west UC study found that consumer expectations around enterprise responsiveness was high. The majority want most enquiries to be dealt with instantly, giving the least leniency to voice calls.
4. BI Intelligence reports that interactions with customer service via legacy methods have fallen in the US by 7% in the last 2 years, as consumers abandon traditional customer service channels like voice and email for automated alternatives like messaging.
The impact of poor customer service
5. Accenture estimates the cost of customers switching due to poor customer service is $1.6 trillion.
6. The Digital Disconnect In Customer Engagement report goes further. It found that 52% of customers have switched any given service in the past year due to poor customer service, with banks, retailers, and cable and satellite television providers being the worst offenders.
7. Almost half of the respondents in the same Digital Disconnect study (45%) said they were willing to pay a higher price for products if it ensured a better level of service.
8. A survey of consumers and enterprises by video calling provider, Sinch found that 23% of respondents would switch to a bank that provided video calling as a customer service touch-point.
Enterprises are responding
9. The use of A2P SMS continues to grow. In a recent report from the analysts Ovum, A2P SMS messages was forecasted to rise to 1.28tn, up from 1.16tn in 2016.
10. The same Ovum report indicated that the use of SMS as a customer communications channel continues to grow, and actionable SMS is becoming increasingly important to enterprises, with 23% of survey respondents stating that their use of two-way SMS had increased over the past 12 months. Chatbots have rapidly become a part of the customer service mix, with most chat apps providing enterprises with access to their chatbot platforms, to enable fully or partly automated interactions with customers. However, chatbots are not limited to apps; indeed, most two-way SMS services are also powered by chatbots, for example, SMS-based services that allow a banking customer to select a transaction or to retrieve their account balance.
11. Organizations that have already launched chatbots reported a reduction of up to 70% in call, chat and email inquiries. They also report increased customer satisfaction and a 33% saving per voice engagement, according to Gartner.
12. According to Gartner, 25% of customer service and support operations will integrate a chatbot by 2020, up from less than 2% in 2017. As enterprises realize the advantages of automated self-service, combined with the ability to escalate to a human agent in complex situations.
13. However, trust is a defining factor for consumers when it comes to chatbots and voice assistants. The majority of individuals in a recent Institute of Customer Service study stated that they believed companies should make it wholly transparent if and when they aren’t dealing with real people.