While rising inflation may be causing consumers to carefully evaluate investments in high-stakes purchases, inflation is also increasing their expectations for excellent customer service, according to a new report published today by Invoca, a cloud provider in AI-powered conversation intelligence for revenue teams. Invoca's 2022 Buyer Experience Benchmark Report examines how consumers' expectations stack up to their brand experiences when they make high-stakes purchases such as buying cars, taking on home improvement projects and going on vacations. According to the report's findings, over three-quarters of respondents (76%) said they would stop doing business with a company after just one bad experience. In comparison, 63% said they will still pay more for great customer service.
Consumers are shopping based on price, but they're demanding great experiences, too.
Price and customer service are consumers' two top concerns when making a high-stakes purchase—the primary reason consumers say they will stop doing business with a company is price, followed by poor service on the phone. While most consumers (67%) said they would do more research than last year to find the best price, 63% also said they were willing to pay more to get the best customer service.
It's also apparent that the pressures of inflation are giving consumers pause. Slightly more (38%) consumers reported making a high-stakes purchase in 2022 than in last year's survey (35%). Over 70% of respondents say that inflation has affected their high-stakes purchasing decisions and timelines, and more than half (58%) are slightly less likely or much less likely to purchase at all due to inflation. Rising prices have not significantly slowed consumer demand for products and services, but they have increased their demand for superior customer service.
"Inflation is putting pressure on consumers who have to pay more for most everything, so they rightfully expect more for their money and will not tolerate poorly executed buying experiences," said Jennifer Lovette, SVP of Customer Success of Invoca. "When someone calls your business, they're ready to buy and will be immediately turned off if any human-to-human interaction with your brand is not stellar—the phone call is the face of your brand and providing a great call experience is one of the best ways to drive loyalty and customer lifetime value."
In 2022, the phone became the preferred communication channel when consumers have a problem or need help, overtaking digital.
Invoca's survey also found that the phone is the most preferred communication channel (68%) when consumers are having a problem and need help, up 8% since 2021 and overtaking digital/online as the preferred contact channel. The least preferred communication channel for resolving issues was via chatbot (4%). Results indicate that people are warming up to chatbots, however. When asked how comfortable they would be making a purchase if the only communication option was a chatbot or automated assistant, this year, 20% said they would be comfortable using chatbots compared to only 13% in 2021. Gen Z and Millennials make up the bulk of that increase in chatbot affinity, with almost one-third (32%) of younger consumers reporting that it's their preferred communication channel.
Further highlighting the importance of providing a great experience on the phone is the dreaded rude agent, which now tops the list for what consumers constitute as negative customer service (59%), followed closely behind by long hold times (58%) and too many transfers (54%).
Invoca's 2022 Buyer Experience Benchmark Report key findings include:
Rising inflation has consumers rethinking their high-stakes purchases. Almost three-quarters (72%) say inflation has affected their purchasing decisions and timelines, and over half (58%) are slightly less likely or much less likely to make these purchases at all due to rising inflation.
Yet a positive customer experience can be a make-or-break moment for a business. Over three-quarters of respondents (76%) are likely to stop doing business with a company after just one negative customer service experience.
Consumers now expect businesses to know their reason for calling, especially if they've done business with them before, with the vast majority (85%) expecting they know some details about them (ex. purchase history, know who I am, etc). These results compare to 2021, where only 71% believed businesses should already know these details and expect their reason for calling.
Negative customer experience boils down to rude agents (59%); long hold times (58%) and too many transfers (54%). It's clear that consumers have lost patience with contact center agents and tempers are rising with more than half (61%) of respondents admitting they will sometimes get angry or raise their voice with agents.
Prioritizing personalization earns your customers' trust and loyalty.
While today's consumers may expect businesses to know their reason for calling, they will also trust businesses more and are more likely to do business with them in the future. Therefore, businesses must empower their contact center agents with impactful data and simple technology to ensure they can deliver positive customer experiences. Eliminating pain points by allowing agents to hit the ground running in customer interactions, armed with the right data at the right time, will ensure they can provide assistance and troubleshoot efficiently.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Invoca helps the modern marketer optimize for the most important step in the customer journey: the phone call. With Invoca's Call Intelligence platform, marketers can get granular campaign attribution to understand why customers are calling, gain real-time intelligence about who's calling and analyze what's being said in conversations. Marketers can put this data to work directly in the platform by automating the ideal customer experience before, during and after each call.
Published: Friday, July 29, 2022
In-house surveys can be time consuming, cumbersome at best and many staff often don't provide valid feedback as they fear ‘being too honest' with their employer for fear of retribution.
Even some 3rd party ‘managed' surveys can be challenging, costly and then there is no benchmark or significant value other than ‘managed by a 3rd party' approach, which leads to the problem of validity of data, security and integrity plus costs and time required by you.
TopPlace2Work is an easy to use program that allows you to gather valuable data on employee morale and engagement.
Motivarnos helps your efforts in managing a constant recognition system that includes trivias, badges and competition elements that drives performance appraisal while agents have an encouraging environment.