The difference between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ customer service could be as simple as the old adage of ‘customer knows best’. A new study found that there is a strong disconnect between what businesses and consumers consider good customer service.
The LogMeIn AI Customer Experience study surveyed more than 5000 businesses and consumers around the globe, including 100 businesses and 500 consumers from New Zealand and Australia.
It found that 80% of businesses believe their customers would give them a favourable review, even though they say fewer than half of customer queries are resolved during the first interaction.
Consumers see things differently: More than one third are not impressed with their customer experience, while 83% say they’ve had at least one issue when interacting with a company.
According to LogMeIn, the disconnect hints that companies are setting the bar too low for ‘good’ customer service. This could have a significant impact on customers’ buying decisions.
“What we learned from doing this study is that despite hesitations around using AI, both consumers and businesses do think it’s changing customer service for the better,” comments LogMeIn director of Customer Engagement Technologies, Ryan Lester.
“While customers, for the most part, have come to accept that their interactions with brands will be involved and time consuming, their expectations are increasing as new technologies become more commonplace.”
Customers are more likely to rely on email and phone as the main ways to contact businesses, but those ways also have the slowest time to resolution. Consumers reported that the average time to resolution was 11 hours – which is nearly 3 times higher than the wait time they cited as being acceptable. And these times increase for those using telephone interactions (7 hours) and email (18 hours).
New technologies such as AI-powered chatbots could help fill the gap, however only 32% of consumers believe they get the best interactions when a chatbot is part of the process.
Most (74%) of consumers aren’t put off by chatbots, and do see the benefits for customer service. Businesses agree that chatbots can help agents become more productive and deliver faster resolutions for customers.
The study found that customer service agents generally used an average of three different systems to service a customer. They also spend more than half of their time understanding basic facts such as customer profile, and the issue at hand.
“Operating behind the scenes chatbots can gather this information in real-time – informing the agent of who they are talking to, their history with the brand, the potential problem the customer is having, and how to solve it,” the company states.
“Having this information at the outset leaves agents more time to spend on resolving the issue. And answering the hot button question of whether chatbots will replace human jobs, the answer was no. 65% of organisations reported that if chatbots could reduce inquiries into call centres, they would train agents to handle different or additional tasks.”
The study also shows that businesses are investing in customer experience, with 61% planning to allocate budget to new customer engagement solutions in the next 12 months. The companies anticipate new investments will increase customer satisfaction and resolve enquiries quickly.
“Companies have a unique opportunity to leverage these new advancements -- like chatbots -- to provide a leg-up on the competition and set the bar for all others in their industry and beyond,” Lester concludes.