Vonage has released its Global Customer Engagement Report 2024. The 12th annual report outlines data and insights into customer communications preferences with businesses, highlighting emerging trends that emphasize the need to augment these interactions with artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance customer engagement.
Lead Image: Sunny Rao, Senior Vice President of API Global Sales at Vonage
The 2024 report is based on nearly 7,000 consumer responses from 17 countries, including Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.
AI’s Role to Reduce Frustration and Deliver Great CX
The global data revealed consumers continue to prefer a range of channel options when communicating with businesses, with mobile phone calls (36 per cent), messaging/non-SMS apps (31 per cent) and phone calls via apps (29 per cent) ranking high in preference. However, less than half (42 per cent) indicated they are “very satisfied” when communicating with businesses.
In APAC, consumers revealed that mobile phone calls (73 per cent) are the most common method used by customers to communicate with businesses, followed by phone calls via messaging apps (60 per cent), messaging via non-SMS apps (64 per cent), emails (50 per cent) and social media posts (47 per cent).
Consumers cited multiple frustrations such as long wait times to speak to an agent (63 per cent), no way to speak to customer service via voice/phone (59 per cent), lack of 24/7 support availability (48 per cent) and lack of self-service support (46 per cent).
The report found that (80 per cent) of APAC customers are likely to take their business elsewhere as a result of poor experiences, and 61 per cent of consumers will not tolerate bad experiences and will walk away after just one or two bad encounters.
These findings underscore opportunities to leverage AI. With tools like AI-based virtual assistants, businesses are equipped to provide quick resolution, reduce frustrations and ultimately provide a more targeted and personalised experience for the user, including the ability to:
- Triage urgent customer inquiries
- Provide smarter self-service at scale
- Deliver smart IVR (interactive voice response) and skills-based routing to connect customers with an agent best suited to handle their query, preventing and mitigating a bad customer experience
Report findings demonstrate that consumers are embracing AI to make their experiences better. In fact, responses show a likelihood that chatbot and video chat usage will more than double within the next year, with 10 per cent using chatbots today and 23 per cent expected usage in the next six to 12 months. Additionally, 13 per cent indicate they’re using video chat today, with 26 per cent expected usage in the next six to 12 months.
Commenting on the report findings, Joy Corso, Chief Marketing Officer at Vonage, highlights the significance of these results in shaping customer experience (CX): “This data underscores that, to differentiate on customer engagement, businesses need an omnichannel communications strategy that allows customers to contact them seamlessly across their preferred channels. Those that do will also benefit from the ability to leverage the powerful capabilities of AI across communication channels, such as voice, video, messaging, and chat, enabling them to augment live customer support. This goes a long way to ensuring personal and real-time customer engagement at every touchpoint”.
“Metrigy’s upcoming AI for Business Success study shows significant growth for AI-enabled technologies, with 38 per cent of CX leaders saying 2024 will be their turning point for acceptance of AI in CX, up from 17 per cent in 2023,” says Metrigy CEO Robin Gareiss. “Companies that adopt and integrate AI and automation into their CX processes have documented compelling success metrics, with improvements in customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as agent efficiency. Companies not using AI on an omnichannel environment are already at a competitive disadvantage, so it’s imperative to establish a targeted AI strategy now”.
Positive CX Creates Loyal Brand Ambassadors
With 56 per cent of consumers indicating they are likely to offer positive survey feedback after a great experience with a business and 55 per cent noting they would share their experience with friends and family, it’s clear that great experiences create valuable brand ambassadors. Even better, more than half (52 per cent) of customers report heightened brand loyalty following such an encounter, and more than a third (36 per cent) go as far as purchasing additional products.
“This report emphasises that businesses that leverage AI across communications channels have the ability to facilitate the kind of meaningful, intelligent conversations that strengthen loyalty, build long lasting customer relationships and ultimately boost sales,” said Corso.
The Global Customer Engagement survey was conducted in October 2023, and explored the varied channels customers use for communicating with friends, family, and businesses – including voice, messaging apps, email, social media, chat, and more – and the immense value of delivering excellent customer service.
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