Customer and Employee Engagement in a 24/7, Always-On Era
The 24/7, always-on era where customer engagement is timezone- and channel-agnostic has changed the CX and EX landscape.
Customers expect to engage with a business anywhere, anytime – through a chatbot, email or self-service outside of regular business hours – with the option of transitioning to a live agent if the issue proves unresolvable.
Meanwhile, workers have shifted attitudes towards technology in the workplace, from perceiving it as a threat to a necessary accoutrement to help boost their productivity.
A recent study by Verint, ‘Engagement in the Always-On Era: How Humans and Technology Work Hand in Hand’ revealed some key customer and employee experience insights from a survey of 34,000 people in 18 countries.
1. Customers are more likely to switch brands than remain loyal
Given how easy it is for today’s customers to research competitors and switch brands, customer loyalty has eroded. Just 44 percent of customers say they have been with their service provider for three years or more, a 17 percent drop from 2015.
More than half of respondents ages 18-35 said they consider ease to engage more important than price when considering service providers or brands, so it’s crucial for businesses to provide a responsive, omnichannel experience.
“Find those things that are easy to self-service and then make that available in every channel that you have available,” Tom Hind, VP of global contact center management at Mastercard said at Verint Engage 2019 in Orlando, Florida.
Digitize where possible but always provide an “out” or “panic button” for customers to reach a live agent if all else fails, because they still need the reassurance that they can contact a human if needed.
2. Customers are more loyal to brands they can easily engage with
Just 43 percent of respondents said the convenience of digital channels is more important than interacting with a human, while over half said they would engage less with brands that replaced humans with digital alternatives such as robotics or AI, and over a third prefer to speak to someone on the phone if they have an urgent enquiry.
“Human engagement for more complex issues – that’s obvious, but we also can’t forget about complaints and urgent requests,” said Ryan Hollenbeck, SVP of global marketing at Verint. “This is why human contact is still very in-demand for these high-value transactions.”
3. Today’s employees are more likely to embrace automation technology
There’s still a general trepidation that AI will outdate many low-wage or labor-intensive jobs such as food preparation and office administration, but for now, most white-collar workers are confident that relegating mundane, repetitive tasks to an RPA or AI system will not only smooth their workflow but create opportunities for upskilling and career development.
Seventy-one percent of those surveyed are in favor of using technology to reduce manual or laborious tasks, while 58 percent want their employer to use more automation technology such as AI and 55 percent of Millennials have asked their employer for more better technology to do their jobs better.
In fact, workers aged 35 and under are 260 percent more likely to ask for additional technology solutions than those ages 50 and up, and 62 percent agreed that technology provides with more information and knowledge to perform better at work.
“Generationally and demographically you have to understand not only your internal audience but your external customers as well and deliver the technology they need,” said Hind, who added that Mastercard considers its employees internal customers.
4. Millennials actually like talking to other humans
Predictably, those younger than 35 use digital channels more than others, but in fact, those between 18-34 are less likely to use online self-service tools (36 percent compared with a global average of 46 percent).
As longtime mall anchor tenants suffer from a drop in sales, it’s easy to assume that the younger generation has been lost to e-commerce, but 29 percent of those aged 18-34 stated that shopping in-store is their “preferred communication method,” while 28 percent said it’s speaking on the phone.