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Kustomer, a provider of CRM for modern customer experiences, has Published a report on the shifting expectations of retail customer service, underscoring the need for continued investment in customer service and the importance of delivering consistent, omnichannel service throughout the customer journey. This article is copyright 2021 The Best Customer Guide.

The survey of over 500 consumers in the US found that 90% of consumers would not shop with a retailer again if they provided bad customer service and 93% of consumers think retail customer service should be more convenient, up from 78% in 2019.

"The stakes for retail customer service are becoming higher as the massive shift to online shopping and resulting increase in customer service inquiries has permanently changed the role of customer service from transactional to consultative," said Brad Birnbaum, Co-Founder and CEO of Kustomer. "Today's consumers see customer service as an extension of brand identity and expect both digital and in-store retailers to provide proactive, consistent and seamless service across every available platform at every point along the buyer's journey. There is no longer room for error when it comes to customer service, requiring retailers to deliver a true omni-experience to build meaningful and long-term customer relationships."

Key Survey Findings
Kustomer surveyed American consumers to better understand how their expectations of retail customer service have changed over the past 18 months, and the business impact of a poor customer experience. Key findings include:

  • Retailers can't afford bad customer service
    Ninety percent of consumers would not shop with a retailer again if they provided bad customer service, while 67% of consumers would completely abandon their purchase if they had a poor customer service interaction during the purchasing process. While 27% of consumers report either posting on social media after a bad experience with a retailer and/or posting an online review, 93% of consumers would recommend a retailer to a friend after a good customer service experience.
  • Omni-experience is imperative
    Eighty-two percent of consumers report that they expect to be treated the same by online and in-store retail customer service and 87% of consumers get frustrated when they can't contact retail customer service on their preferred channel.
  • Younger consumers are setting the bar for future customer experiences
    Seventy-seven percent of consumers under 25 report that they are willing to spend more money for good customer service, compared to an average of 62%. Seventy-seven percent of Gen Z respondents think chatbots are helpful, as compared to an average of 46%. Gen Z prefers customer service emails and texts, while consumers ages 35+ prefer phone and email.

"As expectations for customer service continue to shift, understanding the generational differences in how consumers prefer to engage with customer service also provides critical insight into the future of the customer experience," added Birnbaum. "Knowing that younger consumers prefer text and live chat over phone, and have a much larger appetite for self-service and chatbots than older generations, it is especially important that brands implement customer service technology that can meet the unique needs and expectations of each generation."