In the last year, over three-quarters (77%) of businesses have noticed a rise in consumer demands for improved digital interaction, revealed a report by Verint. This increase is more than 10% higher compared to a similar survey conducted the previous year.
According to the 2023 State of Digital Customer Experience Report, among U.S. consumers aged 18 to 75 who prefer to reach out to companies through digital channels, 34% have noted advancement in their service expectations. This marks a 16% rise compared to the previous year when a similar survey was conducted.
“Customer churn is a detrimental blow to any business. It’s not just about losing a sale, it’s about eroding trust, breaking established relationships, and the ripple effect of negative word-of-mouth. Every customer lost is a signal to re-evaluate, innovate, and improve customer engagement practices. The research emphasizes the escalating demands on businesses to offer prompt and effective responses as customers now expect immediate and frictionless engagement on their platform of choice,” says Jenni Palocsik, Vice President, Marketing Insights, Experience and Enablement, Verint.
Consumers highly prioritize receiving quick responses from companies, with 65% considering it the top priority or second most crucial aspect in shaping a positive customer experience. The ease of obtaining solutions to service-related inquiries is also a significant concern, as 47% indicate it as their main or secondary focus.
In addition, as many as 69% of consumers express their intention to discontinue business interactions with a company after encountering a single unfavorable interaction. In contrast, 80% of consumers show a propensity to become loyal to companies that provide exceptional customer service through digital avenues.
The rise of digital engagement channels
The outcomes of the consumer survey underscore the appeal of digital interaction channels, particularly among a younger and tech-savvy consumer demographic. Among those surveyed, half of all consumers have engaged with companies through social media and/or private messaging platforms, showing an annual increase of 14% and 13%, respectively. Notably, 38% of customers have utilized both of these channels to communicate with businesses.
The constant need for AI
The integration of AI is increasingly becoming a central component of business strategies aimed at engaging customers. A substantial 55% of businesses acknowledge the pivotal role of AI in this context. As many as 27% of these businesses have intentions to expand their AI usage in the future. Moreover, 69% state that AI technology, particularly in the form of virtual assistants for self-service, will have a profound impact on their approach to enhancing customer experiences.
Of all the consumers who interacted with chatbots, 64% had a negative experience. The most pressing issues included chatbots' inability to answer customers' queries satisfactorily (71%) and their tendency to misinterpret customer intentions (64%).
“To meet rising customer expectations for swift responses and immediate issue resolution, businesses need to take their AI strategies beyond just deploying basic chatbots. Automation is now an integral feature of modern customer engagement. Businesses must also incorporate advanced technologies such as natural language processing and machine learning, coupled with comprehensive intent understanding libraries. This amalgamation of technologies will help streamline responses to sophisticated customer interactions” says Palocsik.
In the coming year, 43% of businesses foresee a substantial impact on their customer experience strategies due to the customer service team's embrace of social media and private messaging platforms. Nonetheless, 46% of businesses view outdated systems as a major obstacle in their efforts to establish customer engagement that prioritizes digital channels.
In June, Verint unveiled its Open Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) platform, aiming to deliver a comprehensive solution for businesses, at the ENGAGE 2023 flagship event.