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The Future Consumer: 11 Customer Service Statistics and the Trends they Demonstrate

By Special Guest
Tim Pickard, SVP of Marketing, NewVoiceMedia
June 23, 2017

The trends that are developing now will determine how consumers behave in the years to come. Technology is changing behavior, expectations and preferences, and businesses that don’t adapt at the same pace as the rapidly evolving consumer are increasingly losing out.

Here are 11 customer service statistics and the trends they illustrate:

1. Seventy-seven percent of U.S. online adults say that valuing their time is the most important thing a business can do to provide them with good customer service.

“Time is money,” as the old business saying goes, and this applies to customer service. Of course, the longer customer problems drag on, the bigger the cost to the company – but there’s also the cost of annoying customers with slow service. Quite simply, waste their time and you risk losing their money.

Time is something that is becoming increasingly important for today’s consumer, so customer service needs to be quick and efficient. Anything less and you’re giving the impression that you don’t value your customers.

2. More than one in three American workers today are millennials (adults aged 18 to 34 in 2015), and they now make up the largest share of the American workforce.

This means that a third of the American workforce are digital natives – they have high expectations and are more digitally connected than older generations. As you’ll see below, serving this market offers both challenges and opportunities.

3. Nineteen out of 20 millennials across the world own smartphones and most check them an average of 43 times per day.

The smartphone is becoming the device in the background of all our lives. This is most true in the millennial generation, where the majority of consumers are connected to their mobile throughout the day.

For brands, this increases the number of opportunities to connect with consumers. With millennials checking their phones an average of 43 times per day, that’s 43 potential marketing opportunities. Plus, with the development of wearable technology, those opportunities increase, and brands need to think carefully about how they use this opportunity or else risk missing out.

4. Sixty-eight percent of millennials demand an integrated, seamless experience, regardless of channel.

Omnichannel is no longer optional. The millennial generation has grown up with technology, and any brand that can’t connect their various channels of communication will not only look outdated, but incompetent.

5. Ninety-five percent of the millennial generation want brands to court them actively.

This is perhaps one of the most surprising statistics about the millennial generation; they want brands to get in touch. It shows they’re open to receiving offers, information and inspiration from brands that can get their engagement strategy right.

6. Sixty percent of customers change their contact channel depending on where they are and what they’re doing.

Now that consumers are mobile, they don’t have a fixed place where they browse the Internet or make a call. This means that different contact channels are more convenient at different times. As a result, it’s essential for brands to offer choice so that they can react to wherever their customers are and whatever they’re doing.

7. By 2018, 5 percent of customer service cases will be initiated by Internet-connected devices, up from 0.02 percent in 2014.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the next big development in computing, and it will have an impact on how customer service queries are initiated. With basic requests automated through the device itself, the consumer won’t need to be involved initially, reducing the effort a customer has to put into resolving a problem.

For instance, a washing machine would be able to tell when a part was broken and contact the supplier directly. While this is convenient for the customer, it’s an extra channel that brands need to be able to integrate into their strategy.

8. Gamification will be an essential element for brands to drive customer marketing and loyalty.

Gamification has already taken off in a big way as a tool for motivating employees to achieve their goals and work to better processes. But it potentially represents a bigger opportunity when it comes to marketing and driving customer loyalty. If you can gamify your customer experience, you can keep customers engaged and try to encourage the behaviors that you want to see.

9. Sixty percent of consumers favor a balance of price and service and will not tolerate bad customer service in exchange for a cheap deal.

There’s long been a belief among many businesses that you can get away with providing a bad service, so long as the price is right. Consumer attitudes to this are changing and price alone is no longer enough.

10. Sixty-two percent of organizations view customer service provided through contact centers as a competitive differentiator.

Many businesses are already adapting to the growing importance of customer service, and over half view the service they provide through their contact centers as a competitive differentiator. As companies begin to compete more and more on the quality of their service, businesses need to be sure their contact center technology is up to scratch.

11. By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.

In the not-too-distant future, customer experience will become the key brand differentiator. And as brands compete to provide customer service, consumer expectations will grow. As research from NewVoiceMedia demonstrates, the failure to keep up with these expectations will be costly. More than half (51 percent) of respondents to a recent survey said they would not use a company again if they experienced poor customer service; 38 percent claimed they’d change their supplier; 26 percent would tell friends/colleagues not to use that particular company; 23 percent would post an online review; and 19 percent would complain via social media.

We are entering an age where customer experience is more important than ever, and where technology – and the generation of digital natives that grew up with it – will increase both the challenges and opportunities for retailers.

About the Author

Tim Pickard is senior vice president of marketing at NewVoiceMedia, a leading global provider of contact center and inside sales technology. He has more than 20 years' experience as a leader in the IT industry, serving as vice president and board member of RSA Security's international business for seven years where he ran marketing in EMEA, Asia Pacific and Japan. He also spent two years as chief marketing officer for SaaS/Cloud-based email management provider Mimecast.


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