How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed brand communication with customers in the United Kingdom and around the world? Among a wealth of other trends, Vonage's new Global Customer Engagement Report uncovers the top communication complaints that continue to plague business communication efforts as part of their broader customer experience offerings.
Highlighting numerous pain points customers have flagged when communicating with brands across industries from finance and retail to healthcare, education, and transport, the report illustrates the seismic shift in communication forced by the pandemic. For instance, two-thirds of consumers worldwide are using video more than they were just seven months ago.
While such changes present considerable hurdles for brands, there's also enormous potential to take customer communication to another level. With the right strategy and technology in place, organisations can leverage a best-of-breed multichannel approach to address the consumer frustrations expressed in the Vonage report.
Customers Cite "Having to Repeat Myself" as a Key Frustration
Among the frustrations customers expressed in the report, two in particular stand out. Sixty-six percent of UK consumers say that they are frustrated when they "have to repeat themselves to different people." This is common when a customer calls a contact centre and is passed from one department to another, or if they get in touch with a brand via various channels at different times and have to recount the same issue and provide the same information each time.
In the second most cited complaint, 50% of UK consumers report the frustration of calling a brand only to find that no one is available, with no other channels through which to get the help they're looking for.
Other major frustrations include a lack of enough communication channels to suit customer needs, an inability to reply to message updates directly, and an inability to switch between communication channels.
During COVID-19, Consumer Channel Preferences Have Diversified
COVID-19 has sped up the evolution of how customers prefer to interact with brands, according to the report. While video use has surged, interaction fragments among other channels, including voice calls, email, chat, and social media. Twenty-two percent of UK customers prefer to communicate with brands via mobile phone calls, but the remaining 78% look to a wide array of methods. This trend of diversification points to the increasing need for brands to provide a wide selection of communication options to customers if they're to achieve a better customer experience.
Alongside the frustrations outlined above, the fragmentation of consumer communication preferences across channels also underlines the importance of unifying channels to provide customers with a seamless, integrated experience. Every channel should update new customer interactions made on others. For instance, a customer might first speak to a company via its chat function, then give it a ring. They may send a follow-up email a few days later or connect with the brand via a social network. With an integrated omnichannel technology solution, each channel will already be up to date with the customer's previous conversation on different channels, helping resolve their issues faster, provide a more efficient experience, and eliminate the need for the customer to repeat themselves.
A Multichannel Approach to Strike Customer Experience Gold
Customer communication demands are changing at a pace accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital transformation has enabled brands to pivot their communication offerings to quickly respond to the changes COVID-19 created. For instance, British banks have been praised for their ability to quickly leverage automation and other technologies to respond to the upheaval caused by COVID-19, something which surprised even the banks themselves, according to a Financial Times survey. However, while brands have been able to respond in some ways, the fact remains that company-customer communication continues to leave something to be desired.
Brands can address all of the frustrations highlighted in the Vonage report with a next-generation multichannel communication strategy. An integrated multichannel approach brings communication channels together, enabling companies to provide customers with an efficient, convenient, and seamless experience. In one fell swoop, it equips brands to eliminate common customer communication frustrations, positioning them to stand above and beyond competitors in a fiercely competitive business landscape.