Consumers have high expectations for brands to keep delivering
One year into COVID-19, consumers have revealed the key ingredients for great digital CX and what will be important to them in brand interactions when the world reopens.
Mitto solutions has unveiled research into how consumers in five countries at varying stages of vaccine rollout view the digital communications efforts from brands one year into the COVID-19 pandemic. Mitto’s research examined consumers in Israel (ahead of the curve) the U.S. and UK (moderately paced rollouts), and India and Brazil (currently lagging) to understand how these differing markets compare in their views and hopes for digital engagement with brands in a post-pandemic world.
Overall, the results indicate consumers found digital communications during the pandemic to be fast and convenient, and most don’t want brands to pump the brakes on their digital customer experience (CX) initiatives post-pandemic. On average, 56 percent of global respondents are concerned that brands may not try so hard at improving digital CX once the pandemic has ended, and 59 percent said their expectations for how brands interact and communicate with them will continue to rise post pandemic, as brands have successfully set high expectations for digital CX over the past year.
“Our research sends a clear message to brands: consumers vouch for the significant progress you’ve made delivering great digital customer experiences during the pandemic and have rising expectations moving forward,” said Andrea Giacomini, CEO of Mitto. “It’s important that brands continue meeting these customer expectations and continue to focus on digital channels — including chat apps, SMS and social media — that allow brands to effectively engage consumers across the world wherever they prefer.”
Consumers said their expectations for how companies interact and communicate with them rose during the pandemic; 78 percent agreed on average, with India (92 percent) and Brazil (89 percent) leading the pack. For the most part they felt that brands stepped up to the plate to deliver seamless and relevant contactless interactions.
The aspects of customer experience that people agreed were most improved by companies during the pandemic include:
- Brazil: Flexibility with customer requests
- India: Message delivery speed
- S. and Israel: Providing people the option to engage with brands using the consumers’ preferred channel (i.e. SMS, chat app)
- UK: Sending relevant content
When asked the top reasons why they have enjoyed these digital interactions over in-person interactions during the past year, consumers cited speed (Brazil, Israel, U.S.) and convenience (India, UK). This could explain why post-pandemic, most people will feel comfortable continuing to have digital brand interactions across almost all industries.
The research also showed the majority of people would still do business with their preferred providers if they were only offered a digital communication option in the future (see table below). However, it also suggests countries that are closer to complete re-openings (ex. Israel) are less inclined to have digital-only interactions with more physical activity on the near horizon.
If your preferred companies in the following industries only offered digital interactions post-pandemic would you still choose to do business with them?
“Continuously evolving and improving your digital CX — whether it’s onboarding a new partner to ensure the best message deliverability or experimenting with a new communications channel — demonstrates a strong commitment to your customers that will be necessary to remain competitive in a post-pandemic world,” continued Giacomini.
As the option of in-person interactions comes closer, brands will have to ensure their digital CX drives strong benefits and meets consumers’ standards. As marketers and companies plan for how they will approach digital CX post-pandemic, the study shows a seamless, omnichannel experience coupled with a heavy dose of empathy are key ingredients for how consumers experience great digital brand interactions. The top four aspects of customer experience from the pandemic that will continue to be important globally are:
- Message delivery speed (average 92% agreed; top in all markets apart from the U.S.)
- Response times (average 89% agreed; top in the U.S.)
- Flexibility with customer requests (average 88% agreed)
- Brands showing customers they care (average 85% agreed)