Have you ever had your smartphone just suddenly stop working? Happened to me today, and while it may seem like it’s not a big deal, the frustration becomes elevated by the fact that we use our smartphones today to do so much. Not only did it mean I couldn’t get phone calls and texts for the time being, but it also meant I couldn’t check my emails, search the Web for a nearby store, listen to music or even use my GPS app to get to the location so I could fix the issue.
One doesn’t realize until it happens how important these devices have become. Lucky for me, I had access to a desktop and quickly headed over to my service provider’s website to see if it offered an online chat feature where I might get help on troubleshooting or next steps with my issue.
I know my cable provider is good about being available online and it’s my favorite way to reach out to get billing questions answered. I will never use the phone to speak to them again if I don’t have to. In this case, with my phone being down, I had no choice but to seek an alternative contact method.
Not only did my mobile service provider offer online chat, but the connection was instant and the agent on the other side of the chat was able to quickly understand and help me with my issue. Looking back at the experience I was so pleased because, unlike other times I have chatted with companies, I did not have to give a ton of data about myself to get my resolution process started.
I was luckily able to get the device back up and running in less than 10 minutes with a few steps I performed following the agent’s instructions.
Quickly, my upset over my new device failing me turned into a feeling of satisfaction because I was spared a frustrating phone call, possible hold time and even the trip to a store where I may have had to wait in line.
For me, and so many other consumers today, digital engagement is a vital feature to keep our loyalty.
In fact, consumers in 12 countries responded to a recent study by Verint (News - Alert) Systems saying that they prefer digital engagement channels to human customer service and were more likely to switch brands or service providers to get it.
The study shows a 7 percent drop in customer retention over a similar survey conducted last year. It also uncovered a correlation between what channels customers prefer to use for contacting a company and brand and how loyal they are.
If customers want digital channels as an option and you don’t offer it – chances are they will find a new provider – it’s that simple. And you need to be able to offer quality care via those channels.
“Our research, which also investigated what service providers and brands believe their customers want, revealed that 91 percent recognize that customer service online should be quicker, more intuitive and better able to serve customer needs. That means organizations now need to focus on providing a more personal experience across all customer engagement channels to build the foundation for loyal customer relationships,” said Rachel Lane, director of customer analytics, EMEA at Verint.
Forty-nine percent of those who said they prefer to engage with organizations via digital channels were also with their current provider for more than three years.
“This is a wake-up call for many organizations looking to introduce more digital channels with the aim of reducing costs and improving customer convenience,” said Lane. “As our research shows, consumers feel more positive about a brand when they interact directly with a person, so organizations need to consider how to make the digital experience more personal to avoid increased customer churn.”