New Data From Gladly Highlights Changing Customer Service Expectations Amid eCommerce Explosion; Nearly A Third Of Customers’ Service Needs Still Unmet

Annual Customer Expectations Report Details Where Brands are Succeeding – and Failing – in Driving Revenue and Consumer Loyalty

Gladly, the customer service platform that helps brands deliver a more personalized customer experience, released its fifth annual Customer Expectations Report today, revealing what today’s consumer wants from brands, especially when shopping online. According to the data, while 83% of customers will spend more money with brands that deliver great online customer service, nearly a third of customers (28%) say their customer service expectations are not being met. Customers’ top reasons for this dissatisfaction include having to explain their issue over and over again (73%) and having to know their ticket number (21%). What’s more concerning for brands, nearly half of consumers surveyed (45%) will never shop with a brand again after two negative service experiences.

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“The past year has profoundly changed the way consumers shop, with e-commerce jumping a century of ahead of where it was just twelve months ago due to pandemic-driven store closures and the first all-online holiday season,” said Joseph Ansanelli, CEO of Gladly. “In the past year, 45% of consumers have contacted a company’s customer service department at least twice and another 35% have reached out three to five times. This is where brand loyalty is being created – or destroyed. Online retailers must make personalized, cross-channel service the norm, not the exception.”

Knowledgeable – and Fast – Reps Drive Revenue
According to the report, the top three things customers expect when chatting online with a customer service representative about a potential product purchase include: 1) the rep is a knowledgeable expert on the product in question (78%); 2) the rep can recommend other products they know the customer will like (34%); and 3) the rep is willing to spend extra time consulting on other options (21%).

Of those surveyed, 46% expect customer representatives to respond within a minute of initiating live chat. Additionally, an overwhelming 62% of shoppers want to complete their purchase during the live chat conversation with a customer service representative versus still having to navigate through the shopping cart process.

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The Verdict is Out on Chatbots
Chatbots have become an online customer service staple, yet consumers have mixed feelings about the technology, finding them both helpful and frustrating depending on their situation. 53% of customers found chatbots most helpful when they don’t want to talk to – or wait for – a real person or just need a simple question answered as quickly as possible (51%). Chatbots are most frustrating for customers when they present an obstacle to speaking with a human representative (43%) or when they make consumers feel like a number vs. a valued customer (52%).

Changing the Customer Service Channel
Phone and email, traditionally the most common ways of contacting customer service, are seeing less and less usage by consumers as digital channels rise in popularity. Phone as a customer service channel is down 11% year over year (48% vs. 37%) while email also saw a drop from 17% in the beginning of 2020 to 15% at the end of the year. Live website chat and text saw the biggest increases, up 5% and 3% year-over-year, respectively.

Zogby Analytics conducted the nationwide, online survey in December 2020 on behalf of Gladly. Thousands of U.S. adults were invited to participate in the interactive survey, yielding 1507 total respondents.

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