Companies who invest in digital customer engagement saw their top-line revenues increase by an average of 70%.
That’s according to a survey Twilio conducted of 3,450 B2C companies and 4,500 consumers from around the world to gauge the current state of customer engagement.
Yet despite projections for even greater returns in the future, the results also highlighted key areas that could pose a stumbling block to growth if key decision-makers fail to read the signs.
In this post, we’ll examine the state of consumer engagement within the realm of customer experience and service. To do that, we’ll discuss the following:
Let’s dive in.
Customer experience in a digital world
Customers want their purchasing experiences to be quick, personalized, and simple. By expanding communications across multiple channels and using third-party data to personalize messaging, companies worldwide have been able to create tailored experiences for consumers.
However, our survey also showed areas where gaps between some businesses’ perception of their customer experience, and the actual experiences reported by consumers, could serve as opportunities for improvement.
Below are the three areas that offered the most insight with regards to where those perceptions aren’t aligned, and how customer experience and support teams can correct course to close the gap. By tracking these critical data points, companies stand a greater chance of seizing on cutting-edge opportunities before their competitors.
Customers are experiencing digital fatigue
According to the State of Customer Engagement Report, the pandemic accelerated digital transformation within businesses by an average of almost seven years. At Twilio, we saw digital interactions triple within the last three years alone. Despite the correlated gains in revenue, however, the onslaught of all this digital engagement also carries risk. Many consumers reported feeling overwhelmed with the number of touchpoints, or else frustrated with poor interactions.
Nearly half of consumer survey respondents admitted to feeling digital fatigue, with frustrating customer support experiences playing a key contributing factor to the exhaustion. If left unchecked by support teams, that frustration can have serious consequences.
Our study showed that:
- 56% of consumers said they would end their relationship with a business after one poor interaction.
- 22% of those cited the inability to connect with someone from support as a reason for leaving.
- 15% of those cited multiple transfers between representatives as a reason for leaving.
- 18% of respondents said they’d rather go without the internet for a day than interact with a company’s customer support.
What do these findings mean for customer experience and support teams? They mean that these teams must embrace the adage of “work smarter, not harder.” Overwhelming consumers with digital interactions can damage a consumer’s perception of your brand. Rather than merely increasing the amount of engagement opportunities, companies should look to optimize the touchpoints already in place by offering support agents a single-pane-of-glass view into all customer interactions to ensure they’re not driving their base away with digital fatigue.
One way of preventing fatigue is by providing consumers more power of choice. When reaching out to brands for support, they want the flexibility to choose how, when, and where those interactions take place. Companies can protect their consumers from fatigue by building up a wide range of flexible support channels, which will allow them to meet customer expectations when it's most convenient for their lives—even as trends shift in the future.
Customers want improved personalization
When it comes to personalizing buyer experiences, our survey reveals what businesses have long understood: Consumers prefer personalized communications and interactions that feel tailored to their needs over generalized one-size-fits-all experiences. It turns out, customers who don’t receive personalized experiences from brands are more than willing to leave them for ones who better understand their preferences.
In our survey, 61% of consumer respondents said they would stop dealing with brands that don’t consider their individual needs and expectations. Despite many companies’ best efforts to provide a high level of personalization, however, our survey identified a wide gap between how companies perceive their efforts and how customers receive them.
Despite 75% of B2C companies saying they offered good or excellent personalized experiences, only 52% of consumers agreed. The survey revealed that consumers respond to more meaningful and genuine engagement that goes further than the typical “insert name here” tactic that third-party data gave us. Going forward, first-party data will be instrumental in offering a higher level of personalization as businesses shift to using information that customers give willingly to their company through more direct brand interactions. These interactions will offer deeper insights into what makes their customers unique so they can deliver experiences that are specifically tailored to their tastes and preferences.
Consumer trust is waning when it comes to data
Speaking of data, customers are becoming distrustful of companies’ ability to provide adequate protection and transparency when it comes to their information. Again, our survey revealed a significant disconnect between consumer and company perceptions:
- 95% of B2C companies believe consumers trust them to protect their data—but only 65% of consumers reported feeling that level of trust.
- Only 55% of companies believe customers want more data privacy—even though 71% of consumers expressed wanting increased data privacy.
These disparities between the way companies and consumers view data privacy point to a key juncture for future growth. Over one in three consumers reported that they unsubscribed or stopped purchasing from a brand after realizing that their privacy and transparency requirements were not being met. Some of those individuals went on to post negative reviews, warn friends and family away from that brand, or even report those brands to regulators.
Learn from the past, look to the future
The past few years have seen an influx of CX and support innovations designed to engage consumers with fast, personalized care. As with all innovations, however, companies must be ready to shift strategies when the data points reveal approaching roadblocks—and consider them as opportunities to differentiate themselves in the marketplace.
Curious to dive deeper into the report findings to learn more about the latest trends in CX and consumer engagement? Download the full Twilio 2022 State of Customer Engagement Report.
Amy is a data-obsessed, award-winning, strategic content marketing leader with over a decade of experience managing high-performing content marketing, community, influencer, and social teams. She loves creating strategic approaches that attract, engage, inspire, and help educate audiences throughout their complete buying journey. When she’s not online, she enjoys crafting jewelry, hiking the tallest mountain, or diving the deep blue sea. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.