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Industry Research : Verint Research Reveals Need for New Rules of Customer Engagement
Verint Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: VRNT) today released the results of new research in partnership with analyst and consultancy firm Ovum. The study reveals the complexity of customer service expectations and provides advice on how businesses can respond. Drawing on global and regional research conducted by UK-based research company Opinium, the findings highlight the demand for quick and convenient service coupled with a calculated approach to personalization in order to foster customer engagement.
Key findings from U.S. consumers include:
Theme #1: Effortless Resolution is King, Relationship is Secondary
Customers demand that organizations have the relevant information at their fingertips and resolve issues quickly. When asked to choose between "all I want are my questions answered" and "I want companies to know my mood and respond accordingly," 80 percent chose "my questions answered." Additionally, the two top-rated responses that created a positive impression of companies were: "I felt they dealt with my request quickly (47%)" and "they understood my issue and history (34%)."
Customer service is viewed as a transaction. When asked to choose between "customer service is an experience that should reflect me as a person" and "customer service is a transaction—it shouldn’t matter who I am," 55 percent went with "customer service is a transaction."
Theme #2: Companies Need to Navigate Between "Stranger and Stalker"
Familiarity is a double-edge sword. Customers struggle with the balance between privacy and personalization. When given a choice of "I like it when service is personalized to me and my interests" and "I am suspicious about how my data is used"—responses were nearly split (51% to 49% respectively). Younger Americans (ages 18-34) were more comfortable with personalization (59%) compared with Americans ages 35+, where less than half (46%) indicated they would choose personalization over privacy concerns.
Churn factors vary by industry. Frustration factors that would lead to a switch in service providers vary based on the type of service. Reasons cited for changing banks, for instance, hinged on customer service and performance with "too many mistakes (31%)," and "impolite, rude or uninterested staff (25%)" as top reasons for leaving. Comparatively, for supermarkets, grocery stores and clothing retailers, 34 percent said "finding a cheaper alternative" would be the biggest driver in their choice to switch.
Theme #3: Long-Term Engagements on the Decline
Since conducting a similar study, "Service is the New Marketing" in 2012, the percentage of respondents who indicated that they maintained a relationship with their service provider for three years or more has declined from 85 to 60 percent. Americans ages 35+ were more likely to maintain long-term relationships (70%) as compared to younger Americans (ages 18-34), where less than half (40%) indicated they had been with service providers for three years or more.
The industries with the most long-term (three years or more) engagements rank as follows:
#1 (tie)—Banks (71%), supermarket/grocery/clothing (71%)
#4—Mobile phone company (60%)
#5—Insurance company (58%)
#6—Credit card company (55%)
#7—Online retailer (50%)
#8—Home phone/landline/broadband (48%)
To deliver on these requirements and get ahead in customer service, the rules of engagement are changing, and study results point to the need to:
- Meet the needs of the customer—arm the organization with the right information, tools and processes to provide the speedy service that customers demand.
- Create an effortless experience—understand customers, and use this knowledge to deliver the right level of personalized service every time.
- Make it easy to engage—offer a range of ways for customers to contact the organization to provide flexibility and meet the demands of a diverse customer base.
- Avoid relying on discounts and loyalty schemes—only an average of nine percent said offers and rewards actually make them more loyal.
- Be transparent and open with customers about the use and security of their data—let them know how it helps deliver a better customer experience.
- Go the extra mile—creating memorable experiences can pay off and be rewarded by brand champions telling friends and family, engaging on social media and writing positive reviews.
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Published: Monday, October 5, 2015