Poor customer service detracts from a shopper's quality of life. According to a new survey from Oracle Communications, 68% of consumers are fed up with poor customer service and they would buy more from brands if they upped the customer service experience.
In fact, most consumers said that connecting immediately to an associate, interacting via digital channels or receiving personalized service would improve their overall experience.
While the team at Oracle Communications was not surprised at how much polled consumers valued customer service, they were surprised that despite the praise for digital efficiency, shoppers still wanted to humanize these digital touch points.
"As an alternative to impersonal digital interactions, a bevy of drop down menu choices or a continuous loop of phone options, modern engagement channels are emerging to add human intuition and interaction back into the customer experience," said an Oracle spokesperson. "For example, when an online system can only take the consumer so far without a resolution, the context-aware system can route the customer to the right service agent who is armed with all the information about that customer and their interaction with the brand on this issue to date. The customer doesn’t need to repeat himself or herself; the agent can solve the problem quickly (and maybe even add a few perks); and the customer walks away happy and having had a positive experience."
In addition, the survey found that 75% of respondents perceive that modern engagement capabilities will change their experience as 68% believe these modern platforms expand their options for interacting with brands.
And most consumers are not willing to wait, as 79% want their issues to be resolved in one interaction and 76% are looking for a company that can minimize a menu selection and get them to the right individual quickly.
So are retailers living up to these consumer expectations?
As some customers will always prefer to interact directly with an agent, and others with a mobile device, retailers need to find that perfect blend of automated and human, intuitive interactions through modern technologies. Already, the tools for customer service agents have changed drastically from five years ago; video chat, screen sharing, annotation, web chat and other real-time communications have empowered customers to identify and visualize their issue.
Seeing as a majority of those customers polled, 68%, felt their online retail experience would be enhanced through modern engagement methods, retailers need to be embracing these technologies. Oracle gives an example: If a consumer buys a new bike and a few months later the chain breaks, the customer can engage in a live video chat with an agent who can see the bike, chain, the serial number, look up the warranty in real-time and mail out a replacement in a matter of minutes.
The digital era has changed everything. Customers want to be able to interact across a variety of channels and put a high value on feeling that brand is engaged in their happiness and success. As such, companies are completely rethinking how they engage customers to create lasting brand affinity and loyalty.
"Consumers recognize the value and efficiency of these new mediums in shortening time to resolutions, addressing problems, or adopting new services, such as opening a new banking account digitally," the spokesperson said. "However, the efficiency and simplicity that can come from automated digital engagement channels did not mitigate consumers’ desire for—and the perceived value of—human intuition. Customers instead indicated that blending automated technologies with emerging mechanisms for in-app brand interactions that personalize interactions, including video, screen sharing, chat and other contextual voice communications, will deliver the degree of personal contact they are seeking. This is the future of customer service and engagement."
"That is a powerful brand proposition for the customer," the spokesperson said.