As Customer Service Week begins, new research from gig customer experience (GigCX) platform Limitless has revealed that consumers are more loyal and more likely to buy from brands that feature customer-led customer service.
The research, consisting of 1,000 UK respondents aged 16-54, found that 70% of respondents would trust customer service agents more if they were fellow customers and product or service users themselves.
- Nearly two thirds of consumers more likely to buy from brands with real user customer service reps
- 1/3 of UK consumers are unsatisfied with customer service most of the time
- 75% of consumers cite 9-5 call centre hours as restrictive
When it comes to getting advice and support on products and services, the majority of consumers want to communicate with tried and tested product users versus customer service call centre agents.
The research also unveiled that a top priority for consumers is receiving empathetic and genuine responses, and best practice knowledge on using the product or service. This was followed by availability of customer service agents 24/7, with 75% of respondents citing 9-5 call centre hours as restrictive, or requiring customer service outside of these hours.
Additionally, with nearly half of consumers stating that the COVID-19 is no longer a valid excuse for poor customer service, organisations need to re-evaluate how they can meet rising consumer expectations as we enter the post-pandemic era.
Despite significant investments in customer service technology and multi-channel services (i.e. self-service, automated chatbots), the findings also highlight consumer preference for personable and human interactions. The results found that 57% prefer written communication (email, webchat, social media or other) to voice (43%).
Roger Beadle, CEO and Co-Founder of Limitless, says: “Despite the advantages in technology, consumers want down-to-earth, hands-on resolutions to their issues, and that outranks any other demand. This research demonstrates the value of connecting consumers with people who have real-world knowledge of the brands and products they serve in order to ensure customers feel like the person that’s supporting them truly understands and loves the product.”
Keith Weed, Board Director at WPP & Sainsbury’s and Ex-CMO at Unilever, comments: “The last 18 months have tested brands and shown that consumers want more from their customer experience and purchasing journeys online. Having access to trusted advice and genuine recommendations is a must for competitiveness and growth, and the fact that consumers are more likely to purchase off the back of a positive endorsement is a testament to how the customer experience sector needs to drastically evolve. Consumer expectations have accelerated the CX playing field, and brands must move beyond the traditional contact centre to catch up.”
It’s clear that regardless of the channel, consumer expectations are higher than ever, with personalisation rising up the ranks in customer service priorities.
“In the many months since the pandemic began, consumers have established new expectations when it comes to service, particularly around empathy and human connection,” added Beadle. “Brands can use this as an opportunity to think about their customer service strategy, looking at how they may engage more authentically with consumers.”