Channel Surfing: Consumers Expect Retailers To Meet Them Where They Are

Fewer than half of retailers are now omnichannel. But they better get moving — fast — judging by The Customer Experience (CX) Revolution In Retail, a two-pronged global study by Talkdesk. 

Of the consumers polled for this report, 78% seek to engage with companies on their preferred channels. And those could vary, as channel preference is fluid — 72% of shoppers say so.  

Channel choices are determined as much by context as anything else. That means you have to have “the right capability matched to the right need,” the study notes. 

Customer service complaints may be best handled by phone or in person. But notifications, shipping updates, abandoned cart messages, promotional blasts and any number of message types are clearly the realm of email. 

This report is one of several recent studies on the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the customer experience. And like the others, it reflects the massive turn toward ecommerce over the past year.  



In general, 58% of consumers say their service expectations are higher than they were a year ago, the study reports. And 81% of retailers have increased their CX investment over the last year, while 83% plan to do the same next year. 

To get through some of the usual questions and answers, 68% of consumers say a single poor experience will negatively affect their brand loyalty. And 44% are more likely to repurchase from a firm that provides a positive environment. 

Meanwhile, 57% agree that retailers are committed to delivering a positive experience, and 51% that brands can do so in completely digital form. But that leaves large numbers who feel retailers are not succeeding. 

Case in point: 58% of customers felt their last retail experience was not personalized for them. And 52% say necessary information was not provided to them proactively. In addition, 51% feel the encounter was not seamless or coordinated. 

One thing is for sure: There is no going back. So marketers need to get their technology in order. 

Looking forward two years, only 33% of consumers expect to be interacting with retailers in person -- down from 49% who are doing so today.

In contrast, 39% expect to be using 39% applications, versus 23% who are now using them.

Artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot use should grow to 44%, from 31% today, and video chat from 24% to %45.

Among consumers, 69% want to be able to transition from one channel to another while engaging with a service representative. And 84% expect their problems to be solved quickly and accurately. 

Talkdesk interviewed 181 CX professionals in 11 global markets, and 741 retail customers. 


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