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New Research from MessageGears, Qualtrics, Amdocs, Nosto, and LivePerson

Topics: Consumers and Brands, Employees Struggling at Work, Digital CX, and More

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MessageGears: Consumers Want Fewer but More Personalized Marketing Messages

Consumers are annoyed when brands inundate them with messages that do not reflect their interests, and they are far more likely to engage with brands that recognize them on a personal level, reveals a new study from Atlanta-based customer engagement platform MessageGears.

Many consumers are also unhappy with the tactics employed by brands in their messaging strategies. At least 51% of consumers say they receive messages from brands that are not personalized, and 62% get duplicate messages on different channels. Moreover, 70% report receiving too many messages, and 49% are irritated by large national brands communicating in a generic way that does not reflect how the consumer interacts with the brand.

The medium and frequency of communications also matter. Email is preferred by 51%, while 41% do not want SMS text marketing at all. About 30% favor receiving messages on a weekly basis, compared to 21% who want them monthly. And to know the customer is to earn their business, the report shows, with 66% saying that brands able to create a personalized experience are more likely to win their patronage and support.

“In the current economic climate, it’s more important than ever for brands to listen to their customers and engage with them in a way that makes them feel recognized,” says Will Devlin, vice president of marketing at MessageGears. “As market conditions change, brands need to make sure their marketing is aligned with consumer expectations around when, where and how to engage.”

Qualtrics: Customer-Facing Employees Struggle Most with Tech Changes at Work

A new report from experience management provider Qualtrics shows that depending on their industry, employees have varying experiences with the technology they use at work and how well it meets their needs. The findings from the report are based on a study of more than 33,000 employees from 25 countries conducted in the third quarter last year.

A key finding sheds light on how the overhaul of systems or the introduction of new technologies interrupts work. The employees affected most by this type of disruption are those who work in customer-facing industries, including retail, hotels and restaurants, and leisure. In contrast, the employees least affected are those working in IT and software, the report shows.

Another key finding notes that midsize companies are able to find the sweet spot with technology, while both small and extra-large businesses share similar struggles. Workers at midsize companies with 5,000 to 9,999 employees fare best with their workplace-provided tech, and are much more likely to say that their technology exceeds expectations. System-wide changes are also less likely to affect their ability to work, as 60% say they are rarely disrupted by such changes.

Meanwhile, employees at small organizations with fewer than 500 employees, as well as those employed in extra-large establishments counting more than 50,000 workers, have comparable experiences with workplace technology. Less than one in four employees say their technology exceeds expectations, and more than half are impacted on their work because of system-wide changes to their technology.

Amdocs: Purely Digital Consumer Interactions with Providers Are Few, Contrary to Claims

While communications service providers claim that 65% of customer journeys and interactions are digitalized, a survey of nearly 10,000 consumers across nine countries found that just 13% of customer interactions with providers are completed in purely digital ways through self-service tools like chatbots, apps, and websites, with no human involvement at play, according to research published by Amdocs, a major provider of software and services to communications service providers (CSPs). The low percentage of digital interactions is in stark contrast to the high rates of digitalization and automation reported by decision-makers at provider firms.

The research also reveals that consumer demand for digital channels is twice as high as current usage, suggesting a mismatch between customer preferences and the ability of providers to meet them. And in 56% of cases, it is the consumer’s decision to switch from digital to human channels during an interaction. 

When executed properly, digital channels can be a substantial differentiator, with 42% of consumers saying they would likely switch operators if another provider offered a significantly better self-service experience. Providers say, however, that implementing AI or machine learning remains a major challenge and that the technologies currently do not have a significant impact on their customers’ engagement with digital channels.

Instead of AI, human agents will have an important role in service provider CX for the foreseeable future, the research suggests. The findings underscore the ability of human agents to act as brand champions by generating high levels of customer satisfaction, and recommend that agents receive continuing investment, support, and upskilling to maximize their effectiveness, working in harmony alongside digital channels to drive a superior overall CX.  

Nosto: Online Shoppers Abandon Search Bar Because of Poor Experience

New research from Nosto, the Helsinki, Finland-based commerce experience platform provider, shows that even though 69% of consumers go straight to the search bar when they visit an online retailer, 80% admit to leaving because the on-site search experience failed to meet their expectations.

Based on a combination of surveys of 2,000 North American and UK consumers, along with 308 senior eCommerce professionals at retail brands, the findings indicate that merchants are losing potential sales because search experiences fail to meet consumer expectations.

A key shortcoming of retailers’ on-site search capabilities is the inability or inadequacy of the search functionality to deliver relevant results. The shortcomings are especially galling in the current economic downtown to consumers because many rely on comparison shopping to get the best deal possible in the face of rising inflation, the report states.

Besides relevance, shoppers are unhappy with their search experiences for various other reasons. At least 27% have left a site because their queries produced too many results and appropriate filters to narrow search results were missing, while 26% cite out-of-stock products, and 25% say results were too slow to load. Brands are aware of the problem, but many feel stuck with their current technology. The top issue for brands is the lack of advanced product data processing capability in search, which renders their solutions incapable of resolving complex queries and providing relevant matching.

LivePerson:  Sharp Disconnect Between Brands and Consumers on CX and AI

Large gaps exist between how brands conceptualize and execute customer engagement strategies and what consumers actually want, a new report from conversational AI software provider LivePerson discloses. For instance, brands think they will get a break when times are tough, but customers are in fact getting more critical.

The disconnect between brands and consumers extends to many areas, according to the 2023 State of Customer Engagement report, which surveyed more than 2,500 consumers and 1,000 brand executives. For example, 57% of consumers say long wait times matter more to them now than they did a year ago, but 77% of brands believe the opposite is true. Consumers, especially Gen Z, will spendmore when they get personalized experiences, but the traditional personalization methods of brands turn them off.

Consumer sentiment toward messaging and AI is highly positive, but brands have yet to fully capitalize on the opportunity.And when it comes to preferred channels, 75% are more likely to purchase if they can message with a brand rather than call.

On top of that, all age groups say experiences driven by automation and AI increase their loyalty. An all-time high number of consumers (62%) feel positive about engaging with chatbots, and 68% say that communicating with automations to resolve issues more quickly increases their loyalty to a brand. Interestingly, 60% of the 18–24-year-old group would rather interact with a chatbot than with a human to find a product.

Brands appear to understand all this and say they are working toward improving these experiences. Yet brands appear to be giving themselves better marks than their consumers do. When asked how mature their company’s use of AI is today, 78% rated themselves excellent or good. However, only 43% of consumers can say that brand chatbots are easy to use.

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