Infobip, a global cloud communications platform that enables businesses to build connected customer experiences across all stages of the customer journey at scale, has released a new report on consumer sentiment around shopping this holiday season. The report, Post-COVID: Digital Practices for an Enhanced Consumer Experience, shows that the vast majority (69%) of Americans plan to do the same or more holiday shopping as last year – but their expectations on customer service are growing, too. With 59% planning to move more holiday shopping online than last year, much of that customer service will happen via digital channels.
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For brands and retailers, this means more pressure to provide a quality customer experience on their websites, via text and apps, phone, and in-person – with connectivity across all. Consumers did report in the survey that they are exercising more patience during the pandemic, but almost half also admitted to yelling at a customer service representative at least once. That kind of experience can quickly translate into lost business; a recent PwC report, for instance, showed that one in three customers will leave a brand they love after just one such incident.
“Businesses of all kinds have rapidly accelerated digital transformation during the pandemic,” said Craig Charles Webster, Head of Marketing Americas at Infobip. “Now, especially as we enter the most important season of the year for brands and retailers, businesses have to ensure their transformation extends to customer experience, and that they communicate with consumers effectively and in their preferred medium.”
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Additional findings from the survey include:
- Mixed reaction – and recognition – of chatbots. While only a quarter of consumers say they have used a chatbot to communicate with a brand/retailer, 69% of people who have confirmed that it was a good experience. However, 59% say finding out that they were talking to an AI would make them angry.
- Banks are feeling the heat too. Retail isn’t the only sector that receives a giant influx of customer service-related calls during the holidays. Nearly 44% of US consumers say that they at least sometimes have to call their bank or credit card service company during the holidays.
- Patience is a virtue, especially this year. Despite 45% of consumers admitted to having yelled at a customer service representative in the past, 78% say the pandemic has made them more patient with people.
“The good news is that businesses can quickly and painlessly set up SaaS programs that will deliver a first-class customer experience and maximize revenue opportunities,” said Craig Charles Webster, Head of Marketing Americas at Infobip. “Infobip knows how high the stakes are for retailers and brands, and our goal is to make the holiday season a happy one for both them and their customers.”