Customer expectations are on the rise with four out of five consumers saying they are comfortable with a company using their past purchase history if it results in a higher level of customer service, according to research from Five9. This article is copyright 2019 The Best Customer Guide.

The 'Five9 Customer Service Index', commissioned by Five9 and conducted by Zogby Analytics, revealed that consumers have become increasingly savvy about service and support, their perceptions of a company, and their willingness to share data about themselves if it leads to a better experience. For businesses, the research validates the correlation between customer satisfaction and a positive customer experience, resulting in customer loyalty and higher customer retention.

Digital transformation has changed how, where and when consumers engage with businesses and what information they are willing to share to ensure a high level of customer service. According to the survey of more than 1,000 consumers in the United States across all age groups, 80% of respondents say they are comfortable with a company using their past purchase history if it results in a higher level of customer service, up from 77% a year ago.

Despite their increased willingness to share data, their expectations are high: only 24% of respondents are likely to continue doing business with a company if it requires a lot of effort to resolve a problem. Respondents also expect their issues to be resolved quickly: more than three-quarters believe that should happen in 15 minutes or less and 84% expect resolution to take no more than 30 minutes.

"Today a single tweet about poor customer service can go viral and have a long-term negative impact on a company's reputation and image," said Dan Burkland, President of Five9. "Businesses are left in a tough spot. How can they attract and retain customers who have more choices and higher expectations than ever? Businesses need access to insights and data around their customers' needs, preferences and decision factors. This survey provides validated data that CXOs can use and act upon to improve their organizations' customer service efforts and exceed today's customers' expectations."

The survey revealed strong behaviors and expectations along the entire customer journey:

  1. The Beginning
    90% of respondents said price and great customer service were the leading motivators to do business with a company.
  2. Throughout the Journey
    95% said a positive customer service experience is very or somewhat likely to make them continue to do business with a company, while 44% said they are willing to interact with automated chatbots when they are assured that they can speak with a live agent.

Telephone was the preferred method of customer communication (49%), with email (28%) and chat (16%), and 69% were somewhat or very unlikely to continue to do business with a company if it requires a lot of effort to resolve an issue with a company. Almost half (48%) said it's unlikely they would want to do business with a company again if every time they contact a company they have to identify themselves or explain their issue (up from 41% in 2017).