Customer experience has taken on a new level of importance for brands in 2022. Post-pandemic fatigue has taken its toll, and customers are expecting and demanding an exceptional, omnichannel experience across the channels of their choice. Let's take a look at eight customer experience statistics you need to know.
Not All Industries Are Equal When It Comes to CX
The customer experience impacts businesses in all industries, as well as B2B businesses whose customers are businesses themselves. That said, not all industries are prioritizing customer experience as they should. According to the 2021 Statista Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report, only 29.2% of organizations in the education sector worldwide said that they viewed CX as a primary competitive differentiator.
In the financial and insurance services sector, 62% of respondents see CX as a primary competitive differentiator for their organizations. Interestingly, for some industries that one would think would have a primary focus on CX, such as retail and wholesale, only 39.9% believe CX to be a primary differentiator, while conversely, in the manufacturing industry, 47.4% believe it to be so.
AI Is Predicted to Improve CX
A 2021 Statista report on the factors likely to reshape and improve CX revealed that 45% of brands said that they thought artificial intelligence (AI) solutions would reshape their CX in the next five years. AI is able to provide the technology and advanced predictive insights that are required to deliver an exceptional, hyperpersonalized customer experience.
Swapnil Jain, CEO and co-founder of Observe.AI, provider of a conversation intelligence platform for contact centers, told CMSWire that technologies like AI and natural language processing (NLP) are not only enabling chatbot/self-serve customer experiences, but empowering human call center agents to become truly customer-centric by tapping into real-time conversation intelligence. “Through the use of AI, call center agents are able to pinpoint unmet customer needs, identify key make-or-break conversation moments, accurately gauge sentiment and understand precisely how to improve the customer’s experience.”
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Customer Service Is Key to Exceptional CX
Although AI-powered chatbots have gained in popularity, according to a 2022 Calabrio report, nearly 80% of consumers still rank phone interactions as their preferred customer service channel. Additionally, bad customer service experiences have a huge impact on brand loyalty — 60% of consumers indicated that they’ve switched brands due to a negative contact center experience — and most have left after only two negative experiences.
The study also revealed that there is a significant gap between customers’ experiences and the service that contact center managers believe they are delivering. For example, 80% of contact center managers think they are meeting or exceeding customer expectations for access to live agents; however, only 37% of consumers agree. The same can be said for response times: 79% of managers think they are meeting or exceeding customer expectations for response times, but just 45% of consumers agree. Additionally, 84% of managers believe that they are meeting or exceeding customers’ needs to feel heard and understood by the brand, but only 45% of consumers agree.
Customer service agents need to be agile when it comes to solving customers’ issues. Sitecore's 2022 Brand Authenticity Report showed that 82% of US customers would be more loyal to a brand with customer support agents who have the autonomy to ditch the script and effectively solve customer issues.
Customers Want to Be Understood by Brands
A 2022 Redpoint Global survey revealed that 74% of consumers feel that brand loyalty is about feeling understood and valued, rather than discounts and loyalty perks. Additionally, 64% of those polled would rather purchase a product from a brand that knows them, and 34% would spend more money on a product to do so.
Personalization is very important to customers today, as the results of this survey showed that 49% of respondents were more likely to consider a purchase from a brand that does personalization well, and 32% are willing to overlook a single bad customer experience for those brands that are trying to understand them as a customer. Additionally, 52% said that the No. 1 way brands make customers feel understood is by offering relevant product and service recommendations, followed closely (at 44%) by making it easier to navigate in-store and online. Interestingly, 65% of those polled stated that they love fewer than three brands — and 9% claim not to “love” any brands at all.
John Nash, chief marketing and strategy officer at Redpoint Global, told CMSWire that according to this year’s Harris Poll commissioned by Redpoint, 39% of customers surveyed said they will not do business with any company that fails to offer a personalized experience. “The brands that have found success in the past two years (and are continuing to succeed now) are largely the ones that prioritize personalization at scale, adapting to the fact that consumers are now increasingly in control of their experiences, their data and more, and expect high degrees of personalization,” said Nash.
Related Article: The Most Important Components of the Customer Experience
Hybrid Work Has Impacted CX
While the majority of employees believe that hybrid work enhances their daily lives, it comes with a cost. A recent Optimizely survey indicated that 91% of those polled believe that remote work has affected their ability to deliver exceptional customer experiences, while 92% of marketers said that dispersed teams caused by remote/hybrid work impacted their ability to develop ideas and execute campaigns. Additionally, 93% say their creative ideas were better before the pandemic. The survey also indicated that 92% of marketers surveyed said the ability to deliver content to the right audience at the right time was impacted by remote and hybrid work.
Speaking about the report, Kirsten Allegri Williams, CMO at Optimizely, stated that the pandemic caused all marketing teams to rethink not just how they define creativity, but how they inspire it and deliver creative experiences to customers. Williams reiterated that because remote and hybrid work won’t be going away anytime soon, marketing leaders need to apply strategies and technologies that combine the art and science of marketing. Williams believes this will ensure that they continue inspiring creativity in their marketing teams, which will drive strong customer experiences.
Free Shipping and Promotions Drive Purchases
Because of the move to online shopping during the pandemic, along with free shipping options offered by brands such as Amazon and eBay, today’s consumers have come to expect free shipping when they purchase products online. This isn’t a new trend, however. Amazon initially offered Free Super Saver Shipping in 2002 for orders over $99, eventually dropping the price threshold to $49 and then to $25. The company then moved to free shipping for Amazon Prime members over the course of a decade. Additionally, Amazon Fresh, one of Amazon’s two grocery retailers, offers free home delivery for orders over $35.
According to Loqate’s 2022 global holiday survey, 18% of those polled consider free shipping to be the most important purchasing factor, while promotions and discounts take the top position for 17% of shoppers. Similarly, Sitecore’s Brand Authenticity Report indicated that nearly half of all shoppers (45%) said that free shipping is the most enticing discount, 33% won’t purchase an item that doesn’t come with free shipping, and 35% of those polled will buy more items to meet free shipping requirements.
Related Article: How to Deliver a Customer-Centric Digital Customer Experience
Phygital Shopping Impacts CX
The Loqate survey also revealed that although 25% of those polled said they expect to do the majority of their shopping online, 55% will be hybrid shoppers. Hybrid shoppers may read product reviews online, and then go to a retail outlet to purchase the product, or conversely, they may select products in a physical store and then locate and purchase the products online.
After two years without shopping in brick-and-mortar retail outlets due to pandemic concerns, consumers are eager to return, and they have been doing so in droves — but they expect the same level of convenience, personalization and engagement that they experience while shopping online. This has caused brands to focus on bridging the digital and physical while providing a consistent experience across all channels. This is important to the 85% of shoppers who expect and demand consistency during every interaction they have with a brand, no matter if it takes place online or in a brick-and-mortar store.
Related Article: Get Phygital and Tone Your Customer Experience
Employee Experience Drives Customer Experience
It has long been said that happy employees drive happy customers, a fact that customers themselves believe in and support. According to a Cogito survey on consumer perception, 74% of consumers believe that the employee experience impacts the customer experience. It’s easy to understand why this would be the case, as unhappy or unsatisfied employees have been found to have negatively impacted survey respondents’ customer experiences.
For example, the report indicated that specific customer service agent mannerisms can significantly impact the overall CX — 62% of consumers felt that agents with low energy created frustrating experiences, and 65% felt that agents who are slow to respond to a question or comment negatively impact their experience. Quite simply, if brands do not care about and invest in their employees, their customers will be interacting with disengaged, unhappy employees, and such a negative experience will be what they remember about the brand.
Related Article: How to Improve the Call Center Customer Experience
Final Thoughts on What Customers Want
Many brands today are customer-centric and endeavor to create an exceptional customer experience across all of their channels. By being mindful of the consumer expectations that these statistics bring to mind, brands can engage customers while improving the customer journey and increasing ROI.