During the early days of the pandemic, the digitization of customer interactions accelerated by three to four years, with three times as many companies saying 80% of their customer interactions were now digital in nature. And this speed of change shows no signs of slowing. The way we communicate with brands is changing, and businesses must prepare now for the future.
The question becomes, how do brands prepare for the future of business conversations, to ensure they stay ahead of the curve and stand out from the competition?
Kustomer went out and surveyed over 3,000 global consumers to understand what changes are occurring in the customer experience landscape.
The Stickiness of Modern Messaging
Modern messaging channels are successful for consumers and businesses alike. According to a study conducted by The University of California at Irvine, people check their mobile devices once every 43 seconds — totaling 600 times over the typical eight-hour workday. Younger generations have been conditioned to look at those little red notifications as soon as they pop up.
While consumers report checking their emails most frequently, chronic inbox fatigue can oftentimes hinder business conversations. By 2025 it is predicted that 376.4 billion emails will be sent daily, worldwide. That is up by nearly 23% over five years. When measuring average handle time, and ensuring that your brand conversations make it through the noise, email may not always be the smartest choice.
As the data below shows, consumers are much more likely to respond to business messages via text than they are via email, multiple times per day.
Both checking of notifications and responding to messages on social channels is also significantly higher for Gen Z consumers than any other age range, with 52% reporting they check their social notifications multiple times a day, vs only 20% of consumers 65+. Conversely, less than half of Gen Z consumers say they check their email multiple times a day, compared to 72% of consumers 65+.
What a Great Customer Experience Looks Like
As generational preferences continue to shift towards more modern, digital and instantaneous communication channels, it’s important to ensure that you aren’t just showing up on a channel, but actually building long-lasting customer relationships. Here’s what the data tells us businesses should be prioritizing, and how to achieve exceptional CX at scale.
Convenience Is Paramount
Eighty-nine percent of consumers think contacting customer service should be easier and more convenient, and 87% of consumers appreciate immediate resolution to their problems, on any channel they prefer. The question becomes, how can you deliver on this need for speed? Support teams are often bogged down with manual, routine tasks that consume agents’ time and effort, and result in long response and resolution times that frustrate customers. Currently 50% of customer service agents’ time is spent searching for information and performing repetitive, manual tasks. This is no longer sustainable.
Businesses need to tap into technology tools and AI to eliminate the menial, repetitive, and time consuming tasks, with intelligent automations that can detect intent, collect relevant information, automate agent interactions, and route conversations. Intelligent chatbots are now able to deliver contextual and personalized information that feels human, and can seamlessly hand off to agents when necessary. With the right technology, agents can focus on building relationships with customers and fixing complex issues in a timely manner.
While speed is always appreciated in customer service interactions, modern day consumers want to build a connection with your brand. For simple questions and low level inquiries, self-service may be ideal — especially for younger consumers who have grown up with Google in the palm of their hands. But in a digital-first environment, customer service teams may be the sole, human face of your brand.
In fact, 83% of consumers expect customer service reps to reflect the brand’s ethos and values, and 82% appreciate when businesses communicate with them in a friendly, conversational manner. They no longer want to feel like a number in a queue, or a transaction on a spreadsheet. They want to be a part of a brand’s community, and establish a true connection with the business.
Continue the Conversation
Many customer experience platforms on the market today are ticket-based, meaning they identify the customer as an attribute of an inbound or outbound message and build the communication around that ticket. These systems prioritize the metric of a “done ticket” over a customer relationship. It is abundantly clear that customers no longer find this acceptable.
Eighty percent of consumers expect customer service agents to know about their orders and history, without communicating it to them, and 69% of consumers appreciate being able to switch customer service channels without losing context. This number only grows when we look at younger consumers.
And consumers don’t want the conversation to end once a ticket is closed. Eighty-one percent of consumers report that they appreciate proactive support, and 73% of consumers appreciate followup after their problem is solved.
Businesses must leverage a modern day customer service CRM, that focuses on the customer at the center of each interaction. A single and full view of the customer, and an integrated data system, gives you the complete context of that customer’s history so that you can take the right next action, at scale.
Want to learn more about the modern age of CX messaging? Access the full research report here.