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What’s Trending in CX Today

Whether millennials or baby boomers, today’s consumers have similar wants and expectations when it comes to customer service — and organizations that don’t meet these needs will pay a heavy price. Digital consumers want the organizations with which they do business to be fast, responsive, and effective, while focusing on providing a positive customer experience (CX) throughout the customer journey.
Customer experience can separate successful companies from those that struggle to retain customers. While CX means different things to different people, in general it’s the sum of all the interactions and touchpoints a customer has with a business or brand and its products or services. Via the customer experience they deliver, companies aim to build long-term relationships and increase customer lifetime value and retention rates. Positive customer experiences lead to return purchases and long-time loyalty, as well as positive word of mouth, while negative customer experiences are likely to go viral on Twitter.
Organizations that truly care about their customers and the customer experience need to understand consumer preferences — which channels customers prefer by service type, what it takes to grow loyalty, or what will cause customers to move to a competitor, for example. Insights into these and other issues will help guide business decisions around customer support and the contact center.
For the third year in a row, cloud contact center provider Five9 commissioned Zogby Analytics to conduct an online survey to assess consumers’ views of the role that customer service plays in their behavior and purchasing decisions. Zogby surveyed over 1,000 consumers throughout the U.S., across age groups and other demographics. Validating the correlation between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty, the latest “Customer Service Index” identifies what consumers are looking for and how businesses can better meet their changing needs.
Key Findings
With a focus on the role of the contact center and the customer experience, the Customer Service Index provides insights about customer support channel preferences, factors influencing whether to do business with an organization, the role of chatbots, and more. Some of the findings were truly surprising, while some reinforced what we already know.
Here’s a sampling of some of the key findings:
  • Voice isn’t dead — consumers continue to prefer the phone as their primary channel of choice, regardless of age or gender
  • Consumers want companies to use their past purchase history if it leads to a better customer experience
  • Speed matters to consumers — but results matter more to them
  • The effort a company puts forth really matters to consumers, impacting the likelihood of repeat business
The Good News — and the Bad News
It’s clear that consumers value the role of customer service when it comes to doing business with a company. Virtually all surveyed respondents said that a positive customer service experience is likely to make them continue to do business with a company, while most respondents aren’t willing to continue to do business with a company after they’ve had a poor customer service experience.
Infographic: Likeliness of doing business with a company after poor customer service experience
However, companies aren’t doing enough to provide the stellar customer experiences that consumers expect. While over a third of survey respondents feel that their contact center experiences over the past year have improved, a greater number found that there was no change, while 16% feel that their experiences have gotten worse.
Infographic: CX changes
Despite investments in omnichannel, analytics, AI, and other technologies aimed at improving the customer service experience, many companies have failed to do enough to make noticeable improvements.
What makes a good customer service experience? It comes down to a few simple concepts. From the consumer perspective, the key is to:
  • Service me without making me work hard
  • Know me and my relationship with your company
  • Give me choices in which channel to use and when to use them
  • Give me the right answers quickly
With the right tools and technologies, organizations can meet consumers’ needs and provide the capabilities that make for a great customer service experience.
For more survey findings and a discussion of their implications for organizations, join me for a Five9 webinar tomorrow, Sept. 18. You’ll also get insights on the key take-aways as well as information on best practices related to social media, Web chat, and more.