NICE inContact has announced findings from a research study that measured real-world consumer experiences, including most recent service interaction, satisfaction, and loyalty across communication channels. The 2018 survey, entitled “CX Transformation Benchmark Study,” reveals that use of digital channels is gaining ground, with email doubling and chat tripling among US consumers. This makes seamless omnichannel service a must in the current marketing environment.
Consumers in all regions are most satisfied with online chats with a live agent, compared to ten other channels evaluated. At 56 percent, more than half of American consumers surveyed are highly satisfied with chat interactions, while 47 and 44 percent of British and Australian consumers, respectively, report being highly satisfied with their most recent chat experiences. Consumers also want convenient omnichannel customer service. If a conversation needs to move from chat to a phone call, nine out of 10 consumers say they expect a seamless transition when moving from one communication method to another. Chat and phone are each viewed as convenient and quick, requiring a minimal amount of effort.
The study found that customers who have better experiences are more willing to recommend companies on social media (83 percent), buy more products and services (89 percent), and go out of their way to purchase from specific brands (82 percent). One-time exceptional service, however, is not enough to cement loyalty, as 81 percent of consumers reported that they are very likely to switch to another company if they’ve had a bad customer service experience.
The study also found that nine out of 10 consumers prefer to talk to a live agent rather than a chatbot or virtual assistant. Consumer satisfaction with automated assistants is low, with only 27 percent of users giving a nine or 10 rating out of 10. AI has yet to mature, and consumers agree. Unsuprisingly, 79 percent of respondents said chatbots and virtual assistants need to get smarter before they are willing to use them regularly, and 66 percent disagree that chatbots and virtual assistants make it easier to get issues resolved.
“Businesses are no longer just being measured against their direct competitors,” says Paul Jarman, CEO of NICE inContact. “They are being measured against every positive customer experience a consumer has ever had. The findings highlight that to deliver exceptional customer experiences that drive growth, businesses must continue their digital transformations to power smart and seamless omnichannel interactions. Despite widespread interest in AI, the research shows that its application is still finding its way in delivering exceptional customer experiences. Investing in an open, native cloud contact center platform can help businesses meet evolving and demanding customer expectations highlighted in the study.”
Companies of all sizes now compete in the experience economy to attract new customers and build customer loyalty and advocacy. NICE inContact’s survey shows that companies in all industries can no longer rely on product quality or price alone. They must consistently deliver exceptional customer experience to drive topline and bottom line growth. With fierce competition and dozens of service channels available, the global research emphasizes the need for customer service leaders to continuously monitor and improve customer experience while also expanding service channels and fine-tuning contact center operations to meet consumer demand for speed, convenience, and personalization.

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