New research commissioned by Yonder Digital Group reveals that customers still prefer human interaction at key points of their journey to purchase, while speed of response also ranks highly in customer priorities.
Latest research commissioned by Yonder Digital Group canvassed 1,000 UK consumers and found that brands seeking to encourage loyalty and repeat custom should ensure their customers always have the option of speaking to a live agent. 87% of respondents in fact reported that they tend to stay more loyal and increase business with companies who offer a real person to talk to when they need it.
Although automated customer service tools offer numerous benefits: cost reduction, increased operating speed, quicker detection of mistakes, and many more, consumers clearly indicate they will not be satisfied with automation alone. Similarly, as the customer journey becomes more complex than ever before, and technology and digital channels playing an increasingly important role it is important not to lose sight of the fact that customers will sometimes require interaction with a live agent.
In a situation of urgency or confusion for example, consumers are more likely to feel reassured by a human voice rather than a robot. In fact, 69% of respondents said they take their business elsewhere if they can’t get through to a real person when they have a query – a clear indication of the potential long-term damage to a brand’s image when customer services are unsatisfactory.
A live agent not only reassures, but can also sway a hesitant customer or seize further selling opportunities. This is where technology comes in, working in partnership with human agents to speed up the conversation and ensure efficiency. Digital tools can be used to provide agents with a 360° view of the customer and their purchasing journey from one contact point to another.
The agent can use this information to pick up where the customer left off, seamlessly continuing the conversation. This is pivotal as 81% of respondents said they tend to defect if queries aren’t answered quickly and effectively by a company. Customers also respond favourably to having a choice of communication channels, as long as the level of speed and efficiency remains consistent across the board (92%).
To ensure continual improvement and effectiveness of their customer services, businesses need to sit up and take notice of what customers really want. There is no point in investing in technology if is not used to properly track and analyse customer behaviour and segments via a structured plan with measurable KPIs to show progress. This data is then invaluable in informing and improving all customer interactions.
There is no room for complacency or assumptions: in fact the research found that even digitally-savvy younger generations, commonly expected to be digital natives, prefer to speak to a live agent at key stages of their interaction with a company. As confirmed by this research, a personal, constructive conversation with an agent leaves customers with a positive and lasting impression of a brand.
Click Here to see the research
By Graham Ede, Yonder Digital Group