Customers demand that organizations have relevant information at their fingertips and resolve issues quickly, according to a Verint Systems survey of more than 18,000 consumers, conducted in partnership with analyst and consultancy firm Ovum.
American consumers (ages 18-34) were more comfortable with personalization (59 percent) than their older counterparts. Less than half (46 percent) of Americans 35 and older indicated they would choose personalization over privacy concerns.
The majority of consumers surveyed feel the customer service experiences should reflect them as a person, yet were less concerned about companies knowing their current mood and responding accordingly.
Even when companies make mistakes, many consumers are forgiving of companies they feel make an effort to understand what they are trying to accomplish and how helping them will reach that goal.
"In today’s economy it isn’t just small businesses that have limited resources," Dave Capuano, global vice president of integrated marketing for Verint, told eWEEK. "Companies of all sizes are working to be as effective and efficient as they can when engaging customers. Organizations need to think from the customer’s perspective when looking to tackle engagement."
As Verint highlights in its recent research, customers are first and foremost looking to just get things done--of those surveyed, 80 percent in the U.S. just want questions answered.
"Businesses need to invoke strategies that make solving customer problems easy. In many cases, this means providing more ways for customers to leverage self-service through information," Capuano said. "To fulfill this request, it requires some form of common knowledge repository where organizations can make content available across channels like the Web and to those answering the phone."
He noted larger companies are providing such offerings through vehicles like mobile applications, online chat capabilities and even virtual agents.
"In the end, engagement is rooted in action," he said. "Engagement is included in both sides of the interaction between the customer and company. It’s a driving force behind customer satisfaction and encompasses everything that affects or touches the customer in some way."
Since conducting a similar study, in 2012, the percentage of respondents who indicated that they maintained a relationship with their service provider for three years or more has declined from 85 to 60 percent.
Americans ages 35 and older were more likely to maintain long-term relationships (70 percent) as compared to younger Americans (ages 18-34), where less than half (40 percent) indicated they had been with service providers for three years or more.