Consumers want superior service. But companies are clearly not delivering it, as only 44% of customers have been with brands they like for three-plus years -- down from 61% in 2015 and 51% in 2018, according to Engagement In The Always-On Era, a study by Verint.
Worldwide, 83% say customer experience is a major factor in selecting service providers. And 68% feel more loyal to companies that make it easy to engage, with the U.S. exceeding the average, but falling behind South Africa, Australia and the UK.
Overall, 49% say convenience is more important than price. In addition, 60% expect to be able to interact with a company at any time and in any channel. And 48% are more loyal to brands that offer the latest technology for engagement.
How do consumers want to engage with brands?
In 2018, the top engagement vehicle was online/self-service web, exceeding 30% for the third year in a row. Second was speaking to someone on the phone -- flat at 30% -- followed by speaking to someone on the phone, slightly below that.
Fourth was email/SMS, at about 15%. And that was down from 2017. Mobile apps barely top 10%, and social media is in the single digits.
But the preferences are largely generational.
Consumers in the 18-24 age cohort prefer speaking in person, and online self-service is second, while speaking to someone on the phone is third and email comes in a distant fourth.
In contrast, all other generations put self-service first. Email is most popular with people in the 65+ category, exceeding 20%, but it still lags behind the other big three.
At the same time, email is third for making complaints, behind phone and in-person conversations. But it has dropped from 2017 — as have the top two channels, for that matter.
Email/SMS is a distant fifth for making an urgent inquiry. The top preference — by a wide margin — is live phone contact.
On the job, 71% of consumers are in favor of using technology to reduce their workload. That feeling is strongest in India, Mexico, Brazil, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and among younger people in general.
But the U.S. and the UK are below average in wanting technology. And globally, 78% would welcome technology that provides the right information at the right time.
In addition, the study found that 78% are happy at their place of work and 72% find their jobs fulfilling. But only 21% say their base level of stress is low.
Verint surveyed 34,000 consumers from 18 countries.