If there’s any doubt that the balance of power has shifted to consumers (from brands), consider this: more than half of U.S. adults said they would consider switching to another brand or company for service if they were offered more channels to connect with the brand.
According to a new study from InContact (which provides contact center software) and Harris Interactive, 56% of consumers said they would be at least somewhat likely to switch brands based on customer service options, and a quarter do not feel any loyalty to any type of brand.
“Consumers are becoming more demanding,” Marian McDonagh, CMO of InContact, tells Marketing Daily. “[They think,] ‘There’s some deal to be had somewhere. I don’t care which brand it is, I want to get the best possible value.’”
That value, according to the research, can come in the form of improved (or multiplied) customer service contact points. More than a third (68%) of consumers said that companies who have no other means of contact other than a toll-free number seem outdated, while 70% said mobile apps are an important customer service option, and would switch brands based on such availability. Meanwhile, 86% of consumers expect brands to offer multiple contact options and flexible timing for customer service.
“There is absolutely, definitely a connection between how consumers view the companies they do business with based on the number of channels they can interact with,” she says. “It’s really about giving customers the preference in ways they you can do business with them.”
The link means marketers have to get closer to the customer service departments within their companies to ensure the brand promise is being spread throughout all levels of the organization and back to consumers, McDonagh says.
“We as marketers have to pay attention to this link between loyalty satisfaction and the communication channels for consumers,” she says. “Social and mobile are really changing the game because organizations can’t hide from their customers. Before, they were really to build a moat [separating the organization from consumers], but social media dropped the drawbridge across it.”