January 26, 2021

SME Business News

Small Business News UK

New research reveals impact of poor customer service

Five9 study of over 1,000 consumers sheds light on CX trends

Businesses may be confident in providing what they think their customers need, but it’s not always that simple. Contact centres have become the new front door during the COVID-19 pandemic. And as a result, eCommerce businesses need to understand how to better meet their customers’ changing needs and expectations by offering great customer experiences and making processes simple and quick.

This means providing customers with the answers and information they need – every time. Contact centres and customer service representatives lie at the heart of increasing customer satisfaction, and, as we move in and out of lockdown, they have often been the front door to welcoming customers when physical stores have been shut. Small businesses have taken a massive hit since early 2020, with many left wondering if they’ll survive after the pandemic. As SMEs may expect trading to get worse, it is more important than ever that businesses provide good experiences to build brand loyalty and go above and beyond for their customers.

Driving customer loyalty

Failure to focus on customer service, especially during this period, has a clear impact on brand loyalty.  A recent study carried out by Five9, which analyses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on consumers, found that 61% of respondents said they are unlikely to continue shopping with a brand based on poor customer service. Meanwhile, a quarter of respondents (26%) said their contact centre experience over the past 10 months was worse than it had been before.

Among the respondents, 79% said they are likely to continue shopping online post-pandemic and a poor customer experience can have a very negative impact on a consumer’s relationship with a business. 61% said they are unlikely to continue doing business with a company where they had a negative customer experience.

Whilst many have predicted the demise of the phone or voice channel of customer service, over half (56%) still choose to contact businesses via the phone. Email is the second preferred channel (15%), followed by online chat (11%). Options are in abundance for today’s digital consumers, and these results prove that businesses must provide consumers with appropriate interaction channels when they are reaching out to contact centres in order to provide a fast and reliable service.

38% have stated they don’t mind waiting longer in the contact centre if their issues are resolved first time and the factor which makes the best customer experience is when the agent gets the answer right, even if it takes more time. However, respondents representing Gen Z feel that speed is more important, as having a representative that can answer a question quickly is the top factor. Baby Boomers were split, as they rated both of these factors equally important.

 

Good customer service for long term success

“It is important for contact centres to have the right tools in place to support their agents, especially as businesses have indicated that they will continue with a work-from-home or hybrid model,” said Brian Atkinson, GM & VP EMEA at Five9.

“Customer experience is crucial to the long-term success of every business, a vital avenue for increasing loyalty, brand recognition and spend. Never has this been truer than now. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause business disruption, customers need exceptional service more than ever before – support which can provide solutions quickly and effectively. Fortunately, technology is on hand to help remove roadblocks and deliver a seamless experience across different channels, all while delivering a more human connection.

“The pandemic isn’t over, the UK already faces another lockdown in January and consumers are not going to be out and about at the shops like usual, leaving the contact centre as the new front door to communication with a brand and its consumers.”

 


About the research

The study was developed by Five9 in partnership with Zogby Analytics and was conducted in October 2020. Over 1,000 survey respondents were prompted to base their responses on how their attitudes changed, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.