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Twilio Research: Significant Gap Revealed in CX Qualities Most Desired by Consumers

Consumer Expectations Differ from Brand Performance

New research on consumer interaction with brands reveals a large and substantive gap between the CX qualities desired by consumers and what they, in fact, receive from companies.

The research on industry perception and engagement statistics is from Twilio, the San Francisco-based provider of enterprise cloud communications services, which conducted social listening for 98 brands in the UK and surveyed more than 2,000 British consumers, spanning three different time periods from July 2020 to September 2021.

Analysis from the research shows a marked variance in the perception between brands and consumers on what constitutes “good” service. For instance, the largest proportion of consumers, at 23%, deemed speed of response as the most important indicator of “good” customer engagement. However, the highest-performing industries in the criterion did not deliver what consumers perceived to be the “best” customer engagement. 

Over a one-year period, the top industries in which brands bettered their response time on social channels were consumer banking, improving 60% by trimming response time from 259 minutes in July 2020 to 103 minutes in July 2021; telcos, by 50% from 306 minutes to 153 minutes; and retail brands, by 29% from 397 minutes to 283 minutes.

Yet consumer research scores from 2020 and 2021 indicate that supermarkets and retail banks rated highest in consumer engagement among shoppers. Telcos, in contrast, ranked second in most-improved response time, and were among the companies that garnered the lowest scores in customer engagement during the same period, joining hotels and airlines for the dubious distinction.

The variance in the results indicates that speed of response is merely one element that consumers look for when they consider the state of their overall CX, and that a high score alone in one criterion is not sufficient, and that more is needed to drive positive customer engagement.

Other highly valued customer engagement qualities included consistent query handling with one point of contact (15%), customers feeling understood and listened to (10%), and customers being offered their preferred method of communication (10%).

More than half of consumer respondents (52%) also expressed a change in their expectations on how brands should communicate during the pandemic, including voicing greater demand for flexibility (18%) and more empathy in communications (12%).

David Parry-Jones, Twilio senior vice president for EMEA, emphasized the importance of every customer interaction. “While speed of response plays a part in good customer engagement, today’s consumers have high expectations across the board: they also expect flexibility, consistency, and the ability to pick up a conversation where they left off,” he noted. “With an ever-increasing number of digital touchpoints, businesses are presented with a gold mine of customer insights. Ultimately, those who win when it comes to customer engagement will be those who leverage this first-party data to create truly personalized experiences that reflect customers’ needs,” Parry-Jones added.

Author Information

Alex is responsible for writing about trends and changes that are impacting the customer experience market. He had served as Principal Editor at Village Intelligence, a Los Angeles-based consultancy on technology impacting healthcare and healthcare-related industries. Alex was also Associate Director for Content Management at Omdia and Informa Tech, where he produced white papers, executive summaries, market insights, blogs, and other key content assets. His areas of coverage spanned the sectors grouped under the technology vertical, including semiconductors, smart technologies, enterprise & IT, media, displays, mobile, power, healthcare, China research, industrial and IoT, automotive, and transformative technologies.

At IHS Markit, he was Managing Editor of the company’s flagship IHS Quarterly, covering aerospace & defense, economics & country risk, chemicals, oil & gas, and other IHS verticals. He was Principal Editor of analyst output at iSuppli Corp. and Managing Editor of Market Watch, a fortnightly newsletter highlighting significant analyst report findings for pitching to the media. He started his career in writing as an Editor-Reporter for The Associated Press.


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