Consumer demands are at an all-time high. According to Kustomer research, a whopping 90% of respondents think contacting customer service should be easier, and 85% of respondents think customer service should be faster. Quick service also continues to outrank all other customer service qualities in terms of importance, no matter the demographic.
But in order to prepare for the future, brands need to consider how to deliver on these skyrocketing expectations. Luckily, our research also shows that preferences are beginning to shift across generations, with younger demographics preferring more customer self-service options, and seeing the benefits of intelligent chatbots more clearly. Read on to learn what the data says about the need for CX speed and how self-service options can deliver.
What Is Customer Self-Service?
Customer self-service is defined as a method of proactive customer service that helps customers find the information and solutions they need.
Self-service empowers customers to find answers, how-to tutorials and other customer support content without ever having to interact with agents. This is becoming an increasingly preferred method, especially for consumers who want quick, immediately available answers and are natural problem solvers who like to figure things out on their own.
And it’s not just good for the consumer. Customer self-service benefits employees by reducing the stress on request queues, giving the support team more time for larger, more complex requests.
An entire generation of consumers have grown up with the answer to any question in the palm of their hand. And after the pandemic, habits have shifted across all generations. Consumers that may not have shopped online previously, known how to book an appointment online, or had never been on a Zoom call, were forced to become digitally savvy overnight. What this translates to is a large cohort of the population that is willing, able, and even prefers to get questions answered on their own.
More than half of surveyed consumers (58%) reported that they prefer to solve customer service issues on their own versus talking to a company representative. Whether via an FAQ page or through a live chatbot, talking to a human and dealing with the roadblocks that can often come with the process, seems to be falling more and more out of style. This only becomes more true when we break down the data by generation.
When asked to rank the top three preferred customer support service methods or channels, consumers under the age of 35 rank self-service amongst their top three. This means it will only become more important for businesses to invest in self-service tools as this generation ages, becoming the heads of the household and retaining their “help yourself” mentality.
How Self-Service Can Deliver on the CX Need for Speed
When businesses aren’t able to deliver fast service, their customers can become furious. And when we say fast, we mean immediate. According to our research, 72% of consumers expect their problems to be solved INSTANTLY upon contacting customer service. That means that wait times, holds, transfers and searching for information simply won’t be tolerated. On top of that, the threshold where consumers start to experience frustration after contacting customer service — meaning the point at which that furiosity begins to take shape — is at the four-minute mark. This threshold was seen across all customer service channels and all industries, meaning that the appetite for quick service is universal, and a speedy response should be consistent across channels and audiences. Additionally, 46% of respondents think businesses don’t respect their time, with that number growing to over half of consumers aged 55+, who may still prefer slower channels like phones.
The question becomes, how can you deliver on this need for speed? Businesses need to tap into technology tools and artificial intelligence to eliminate the menial, repetitive, and time-consuming tasks with intelligent automation that can detect intent, collect relevant information, automate agent interactions, and route conversations based on customer data or request type. Self-service options should always be available, and intelligent live chatbots are now able to deliver contextual and personalized information that feels human, and can seamlessly hand off to agents when necessary. With the right technology, agents can focus on building relationships with customers and fixing complex issues in a timely manner.
Want more research data on the CX need for speed? Download our report on the topic here.