Blog · 30 Jan 2018

The digital customer: Keeping track of trends

Our brand new blog series looks at digital customer experience. In this first instalment, Thomas Duecke explores the evolution of the digital customer over the past seven years.

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President, Global Customer Service

The developing world of the digital customer experience

What do digital customers demand? Why are chatbots suddenly so popular? Is video fulfilling its potential? Is making a good old phone call a thing of the past?

All big questions, and all important ones to answer. After all, four out of every five consumers will buy more from a company that makes it easy to do business with them, and 79 per cent of customers are more loyal to businesses that are simple to contact. With that in mind — is there any excuse not to think carefully about your customer experience?

The question then, is how? How can you find out everything you need to know about the digital customer experience?

Well, that’s where we can help.

Our recent research, ‘Chat, tap, talk: Eight key trends to transform your digital customer experience’, is full of insight. Whether it’s contact by phone, email, internet self-service, web chat, social media, chatbot or video conferencing, our digital customer research reveals what consumers around the world want from the large organisations they deal with. And it’s extensive, collating the opinions of 5,000 people from ten different countries.

Putting it all into context

What’s more, we’ve conducted research in this area for seven years now. This gives us a unique insight into how customer behaviours and demands have developed and evolved alongside digital technology.

So, as well as answering the questions I set out above, this blog series will explore the trends we’ve seen develop over almost a decade. By way of illustration, one interesting discovery we made is that if you look from one year to the next, people’s opinions don’t make huge jumps. But, by contextualising opinions over a number of years, you see clear and startling trends.

Between 2015 and 2017, for example, the number of people who’d recently contacted a call centre dropped by three per cent. But between 2010 and 2017, the number dropped by ten per cent — a dramatic change for any business that works in this area.

Meanwhile in 2010, only 18 per cent of consumers said they thought videos about products would add value. Whereas in 2017, 42 per cent would actually go to YouTube rather than Google to research a product or service (32 per cent in 2015).

What do these trends mean for your business? Well, at the very least, they mean you need to rethink your business-as-usual customer experience.

Emerging technologies

Alongside this change, we’ve also seen the emergence of type-based messaging, such as WhatsApp, the staying power of voice and the demand for artificial-intelligence (AI) based chatbots — all of which we’ll take a look at in more detail later in the series.

Keep an eye out for the next blog in the series, where we’ll explore the reasons why voice-based communication methods are here to stay.

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