Procurement · 21 November 2016

Companies should listen to customer service expectations of younger consumers

digital_consumers
Some 40 per cent of consumers would welcome AI-driven customer service

New research has shown that 98 per cent of online consumers want to see a contact number within one click of a company’s homepage, as customers demand more from their online experiences.

The study of 3,000 customers across Europe, undertaken by consumer insight analysts Qualtrics, also found that almost 70 per cent of survey respondents would cut off all contact with a company that failed to respond to a query.

The research suggested a shift in consumer behaviour, as shopping habits become more based upon customer experiences than brand loyalty.

Customers aged 18 to 22 years old were found to have the highest expectations of customer service. This younger audience, the study found, expected an “innovative” service from providers, with over a third expecting a response from a company within six hours of contact.

The same demographic was also found to be overwhelmingly in favour of customer service driven by artificial intelligence (AI) – two and a half times more likely to be satisfied with AI customer service systems than customers aged 56 and over, the research suggested.

Commenting on the findings, Ian McVey, Qualtrics UK director, noted that this young demographic exercised a “disproportionate amount of influence” on the future shape of consumer engagement, and warned companies to take their attitudes as a warning for how to conduct customer service.

“Because [young people] are constantly connected and very vocal, they have become as important for their spending power as for the influence they wield across society.

“The message to companies is clear – your customer base is undergoing radical behavioural change, and so must you”, McVey said in a statement.

Further research supported this rise of digitally discerning consumers, as customer satisfaction and retention becomes more dependent than ever on positive online experiences and customer service.

A recent study from digital solutions provider Atos identified a “three-strike rule”, whereby a majority of consumers give companies just a handful of chances to offer the digital experience they expect before seeking out an alternative provider.

Three strikes and you’re out: The rise of discerning digital consumers

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.

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