New Genesys Data Shows High Consumer Expectations but Lagging Digital Transformation

Companies are Moving in the Right Direction with Strategic Priorities on Integrated CX Platforms and EX Improvements

Experience orchestration provider Genesys released The State of Customer Experience report with some comprehensive data demonstrating high consumer expectations, low consumer patience with suboptimal experiences, and the struggle to nail down optimal digital transformation.

I spoke with Claire Beatty, Senior Director for Thought Leadership at Genesys and one of the authors of the report, to get more background on the data and dig into some of the trends found in this third report edition.

High Expectations and the Experience Economy

Consumers have high expectations and if not met, do not have a high level of patience for sticking around. According to the Genesys data, most consumers (86%) believe a company is only as good as its service. This is a 16-percentage point increase from 2021.

Nearly one-third (31%) of consumers opted to take their business elsewhere due to dissatisfactory service last year and 77% of consumers said they would switch brands after five or fewer negative interactions with a brand’s customer service. 

“This is an experience economy. Consumers have more choice than ever before, and they are extremely pressed for time. Companies need to really earn loyalty with seamless and personalized interactions,” says Beatty.

Personalization is key as it can not only help lock in loyalty but could boost revenue. More than 80% of consumers say they would purchase additional items from companies that consistently personalize the customer service experience, and 56% say they would pay more.

Digital Channel Use Accelerates; Full Digital Transformation Lags

The use of digital channels has accelerated, and for the first time email has surpassed voice as the most common method to reach customer service, with 72% of respondents using email versus 68% using voice. This is an area where expectation does not quite meet reality, as while it is most often used, it is not actually the preferred channel due to consumer preference for a speedy reply and resolution. Consumers still want a call with voice interaction if given a choice. Not surprisingly, preferences vary amongst generational groups.

Source: Genesys

“Younger generations definitely expect a flawless digital interaction that is asynchronous, unassisted, and personalized, but yet they still want access to that highly trained and engaged person when they really need it. Voice is not going away and continues to be an important option for consumers. In fact, voice was the only channel that showed an increase in satisfaction year over year,” says Beatty.

There is definitely work to be done across channels. Even with the higher level of satisfaction with the voice channel, less than half (43%) of consumers have felt highly valued after a call, a quarter of consumers have lost their temper, and some (12%) had experiences so bad that they were driven to tears.

More than 50% of those surveyed ranked fast responses and having their issue solved during the first interaction as the most valuable elements of customer experience. Across the board there is a gap between expectations and reality for the speed and capabilities of digital channels. The biggest decreases in satisfaction were with social media, voice bots, and virtual home assistants. The quality of experiences in video, messaging apps, and chatbots also declined.

“To meet the experience expectations of consumers who are interacting across channels, it does require a mindset shift. It needs to not just be about closing an interaction and resolving it as quickly and efficiently as possible, but how do we really use all these touchpoints to deepen and extend relationships and to create that human level of interaction even when at times, there isn’t a human involved? The shift from efficiency focus to relationship focus will be an important one,” says Beatty.

Other areas of discontent centered on broken customer journeys. Consumers reported dropped calls as the most frustrating thing that can happen while engaging with customer service, followed closely by the inability to reach a live agent from a chatbot or reaching a dead end from a phone menu. Only 21% of consumers were highly satisfied with a chatbot, citing not being able to reach a live agent from a chatbot and having to repeat a conversation they had with a bot to an agent as their top frustrations.

While great progress has been made in offering different technology types to consumers, a full digital transformation is lagging.

“Technology does not equal transformation, and importance must be placed on having a connected digital and voice strategy,” says Beatty.

According to the data collected, only 13% of companies have connected the technology and data needed to create end-to-end customer journeys.

“The industry has been talking about customer journeys for a long time. But to make progress, it’s not about journey maps that get archived somewhere, it’s about shifting to a real-time analytics approach to understand each customer’s moment by moment experience. There is not a lack of data here; with analytics we have an unprecedented ability to see patterns, remove friction points, and eliminate the need for repetitive questions. Getting those insights into real-time action will enable contact centers to act with the right resource in the right moment, smoothing out the experience.”

Companies Are Moving in the Right Direction; EX Gets More Focus

Even with all the identified issues, two-thirds of consumers feel the experiences they receive are generally getting better, and almost half say they have enjoyed a CX interaction in the past year.

Additionally, the data shows that companies are moving in the right direction. Organizations have identified top challenge areas, and will be investing in technologies and strategies to address the expectation-versus-reality disconnect. Companies have plans to increase their CX related budgets by 25% in 2023.

“The strategic priorities that have emerged from our research show that companies are moving in the right direction. The focus on employee experience, as well as over 70% of companies planning to implement a CX platform that integrates systems are exciting developments,” says Beatty.

Source: Genesys
Source: Genesys

“The contact center as a customer touchpoint is so important to overall satisfaction and seeing agent experience coming to the forefront is a really positive shift,” adds Beatty. “This has long been a topic of interest to Genesys. Last year Genesys partnered with MIT Technology Review on a research project that really homed in on what we call ‘the people paradox’ of companies focusing on recruitment but not retention. Companies really need to improve the value proposition for their agents, and give them not only the tools and technologies they need to thrive, but to work in ways to build connection and have fun as well as the structure to build meaningful careers.”

Thought-provoking research from Genesys. Lots to work on in with digital transformation but cause for optimism that strategies are aligned with addressing the challenges. It will be interesting to track how successful these plans are, and how long it will take to come to fruition in the contact center market.

Author Information

As a detail-oriented researcher, Sherril is expert at discovering, gathering and compiling industry and market data to create clear, actionable market and competitive intelligence. With deep experience in market analysis and segmentation she is a consummate collaborator with strong communication skills adept at supporting and forming relationships with cross-functional teams in all levels of organizations.

She brings more than 20 years of experience in technology research and marketing; prior to her current role, she was a Research Analyst at Omdia, authoring market and ecosystem reports on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and User Interface technologies. Sherril was previously Manager of Market Research at Intrado Life and Safety, providing competitive analysis and intelligence, business development support, and analyst relations.

Sherril holds a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from University of Colorado, Boulder and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rutgers University.


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