Expectations for the customer experience are higher than ever before. We’ve been spoiled by brands anticipating our needs and doing the legwork for us. Netflix selects movies for you based on your viewing history, Facebook remembers your friends’ birthdays so you don’t have to, and Amazon recommends products you didn’t even know you needed — and in retrospect maybe didn’t need — I’m looking at you, Nicholas Cage throw pillow!
The pandemic and resulting brick-and-mortar shutdowns put increased emphasis on the customer experience. Think of all the ways brands frustrated customers during the pandemic: new store hours that weren’t updated on websites, “longer than expected” call volumes that resulted in long hold times, and websites crashing from high traffic.
This means there’s more opportunity than ever to set your brand apart from the competition, and the contact center experience is particularly important. According to Forrester, 87% of companies reported an increase in phone conversion rates in the past 12 months. This alone can justify investment in improving the customer experience with your contact center. To further demonstrate the importance of great contact center experiences, we surveyed 500 customers to capture their feelings about interacting with businesses on the phone in the 2021 Buyer Experience Benchmark Report.
Read on to get the highlights from our original research, as well as top third-party statistics that can help you make the case to invest more in the customer experience.
If you want more statistics about the importance of phone calls in the customer journey, download the full report here.
The Customer Experience Is More Important in 2021 Than Ever
1. 74% of consumers are at least somewhat likely to buy based on experiences alone. In most industries, the customer experience is a key competitive differentiator. (source: Forbes & Arm Treasure Data)
2. Consumers will pay a 16% price premium for a great customer experience. If you save your customers time and hassle, they’ll reward you. (source: PwC)
Poor Customer Experiences Cost Businesses Revenue
3. $1.6T is lost every year in the U.S. because of poor customer service. Poor customer experiences are a liability to your business that need to be addressed. (source: Accenture Strategy)
4. 32% of customers stop doing business with a brand they love after only one bad experience. Brand loyalty isn’t what it once was — in today’s hyperconnected world, switching to a competitor is now as easy as clicking a button. (source: PwC)
When Consumers Are Shopping for High-Stakes Purchases, The Phone Call Experience Is Critical
5. One-third of consumers said they made high-stakes purchases despite economic insecurity in 2020. Regardless of the economic outlook, people still need to make certain essential purchases like mortgages, cars, medical procedures, and home repairs. (source: Invoca)
6. 87% of respondents said talking to a person on the phone to answer questions made them feel more confident in making high-consideration purchases, versus purchasing directly online. It can feel daunting to make an expensive purchase without hearing a human voice that can reassure you and answer your detailed questions. (source: Invoca)
7. Consumers are most likely to call when making purchases in insurance (68%), healthcare (67%), telecom (64%), automotive (61%), home services (60%), financial services (60%), and travel (53%). What do these industries have in common? They involve expensive, complex, and considered purchases. (source: Invoca)
8. Consumers prefer to communicate with businesses via phone (68%), email (55%), in person (40%), live agent chat (33%), and chatbot (13%). Sorry, chatbots. It turns out, people aren’t fond of typing out detailed questions only to get “Sorry, I didn’t quite understand that” in reply. (source: Invoca)
Why Are Consumers Calling Businesses?
9. 44% of consumers call businesses as part of their research process and 30% call because they’re most comfortable making high-stakes purchases on the phone. Understanding why consumers are calling your business is important so that you can meet their needs and remove barriers to purchase. (source: Invoca)
10. Travel consumers are most likely to make a purchase over the phone (41%), while automotive consumers are the least likely to do so (18%). Though automotive consumers rarely buy over the phone, 60% will call during the buying journey to do research and arrange appointments or test drives. (source: Invoca)
11. Customers are most likely to call because they couldn’t find what they were looking for online in automotive (33%), financial services (33%), and healthcare (30%). You shouldn’t force your customers to call due to a bad website experience — self-service online should be a viable option as well. (source: Invoca)
Consumers Won’t Call If They Think You’ll Waste Their Time
12. The top 3 reasons customers avoid calling businesses are because of long wait times, other methods of communication are faster, and they anticipate being rerouted. If you make the contact experience painful, customers won’t call at all. (source: Invoca)
13. When consumers are placed on hold, 5% hang up immediately, 28% hang up after 5 minutes or less, 26% give 6-10 minutes, and only 6% hold for 30 minutes or longer. Be careful with that last group, they’re hanging on through spite alone! (source: Invoca)
14. Only 5% of customers trust the automatic callback option. I’m not the only one who’s fallen for the “we’ll call you right back” line. (source: Invoca)
Transfers and Repetition Are Driving Away Your Customers
16. 71% of respondents said that they believe businesses already know why they’re calling. Today’s consumers expect brands to deliver seamless online-to-offline experiences—and they believe you have the data to do it. (source: Invoca)
17. When callers aren’t transferred, 49% of people feel relieved, 37% feel their business is valued, 34% are more inclined to complete a purchase. Respondents also said that when they aren’t transferred, they trust the business more. (source: Invoca)
18. 53% of consumers say they need to repeat their reason for calling multiple agents. Over half of people get Groundhog Day feels every time they call a business — connecting the online to offline experience can solve this issue. (source: Invoca)
19. Only 15% of consumers say they rarely or never have to repeat themselves. Lucky them! (source: Invoca)
Top Brands Are Using Conversation Intelligence Solutions to Improve the Digital-to-Call Experience
20. 82% agree that insights from inbound calls and call experiences may reveal costly blind spots in their organizations. Calls are a rich source of data — the customer is literally telling you what product or service they’re interested in, how they want to engage with you, and any barriers to purchase they’re facing. (source: Forrester)
21. 60% of marketers agree their organizations lack the data to understand and engage sales prospects and customers. Conversation intelligence data from phone calls can fill this critical gap and help you to create better customer experiences. (source: Forrester)
22. 48% of marketers expect to enhance customer experiences when they implement conversation intelligence solutions. Other benefits they expect to reap include increased revenue growth, better-informed R&D decisions, improved employee productivity, and more. (source: Forrester)
23. 43% of marketers expect to increase customer retention when they implement conversation intelligence solutions. Connecting the digital-to-call experience can help you create cohesive experiences that forge brand loyalty. (source: Forrester)
Register for our Drive with Data event to learn how you can improve the customer experience with conversation intelligence.