ANN ARBOR, Mich., May 20, 2019 – A new report by Radial and CFI Group provides retail customer insights from a survey of 500 online shoppers designed to understand their experiences across the customer service journey, from digital properties to the contact center. The results underscore the ongoing needs and opportunities for retailers to invest in the tools and technology that support both customer self service and value-added agent interactions.
Among the key findings of the survey are additional insights into the value of ensuring service agents have robust, real-time information about the customers who contact them. “It’s long been clear that agents armed with customers’ account histories and prior interactions with a brand lead to better service experiences,” says Sheri Petras, CEO of CFI Group. “The new data from our most recent survey show that this goes much further, though, with a significant proportion of our respondents telling us that they actively seek out brands that have these capabilities. That has implications that extend well beyond smooth customer service experiences.”
While high-quality service by agents certainly remains important, the survey also showed customers’ continued willingness to engage in self-service and the importance of providing a variety of channels for them to seek the help they need. 83% of our respondents report that they use self-service options when brands explicitly offer them, an increase of seven percentage points from the same time last year, and a solid majority also expressed at least some degree of comfort interacting with artificial intelligence tools in this process. When self service did not get them the answers they needed, respondents reported reaching out for agent assistance across a variety of channels, whether phone, online chat, email, or social media. Though phone was mostly commonly their first choice, significant proportions of the respondents said that they preferred other channels, and many said they had reached out via multiple channels–an average of 1.6 overall.