New Vonage Study Reveals That Consumers Want Digital Interactions With Brands to Feel More Like Personal Conversations

Vonage 11th Annual Global Customer Engagement Report reveals technology gap prevents meaningful connections and risks loyalty among customers

Vonage, a global leader in cloud communications helping businesses accelerate their digital transformation, has unveiled new research that shows businesses have technology gaps that prevent them from making meaningful connections with customers. After two years of nonstop digital transformation among businesses, only 45% of consumers are “very satisfied” with the way they connect with companies, revealing opportunities to enhance digital transformation efforts with omnichannel communications channels, artificial intelligence (AI)-driven capabilities, and more.

Vonage’s 11th Global Customer Engagement Report, based on a survey of nearly 5,000 consumers from 11 countries, explores preferences when it comes to using technology to connect with their favourite brands.

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“In this age of digital transformation, as more businesses work to improve and simplify the customer journey, AI-powered technologies such as virtual assistants, programmable voice, chatbots, and conversational commerce are letting customers take control of their preferred communication channels”

Consumer Expectations and Satisfaction

The report found that 60% of customers are “very satisfied” with friends and family communications, while 45% rate business/service provider communications as high.

While many consumers use messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger (57%) and make calls via messaging apps (48%) with friends and family on a daily basis, the study uncovered that phone calls (37%) tend to be consumers’ most-used method for communicating with businesses, followed by email (30%) and messaging apps (30%).

This disparity suggests that businesses are not providing consumers with the same, familiar experience they are used to in their personal lives when it comes to communications technology. In order to do that, businesses need to drive omnichannel customer engagement forward (voice calls, video, chat, messaging apps, and more) and embrace emerging technologies like AI, to eliminate common customer frustrations and technology gaps.

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“The ubiquity of mobile phones delivers the kind of vehicle to businesses that allows them to speak to and engage with their customers directly — right from the palms of their hands. Yet, this research reveals that many businesses are still not using the communications channels made available by today’s technology to their full potential and are missing out on opportunities to make real connections with customers and drive customer engagement,” said Joy Corso, Chief Marketing Officer for Vonage. “This is where AI tools can help and surface as underused technology.”

AI tools like virtual assistants, for instance, can address common requests and eliminate long wait times for customers. Virtual assistants can also provide the initial triage to route customers to the right person — which is helpful during peak or seasonal periods.

Another tool is conversational commerce, which uses AI to engage customers in-channel. Companies can use it to add information, automation, and self-service to conversations. For example, companies can provide front-end FAQs, authenticate users, and authorise payments.

“In this age of digital transformation, as more businesses work to improve and simplify the customer journey, AI-powered technologies such as virtual assistants, programmable voice, chatbots, and conversational commerce are letting customers take control of their preferred communication channels,” said Dan Miller, Lead Analyst and Founder, Opus Research. “With this year’s installment of the Global Customer Engagement Report, Vonage is shining a light on the importance of personalised, real-time engagement as the key to driving enduring brand loyalty.”

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