The Consumer Message Is Loud and Clear [IDC Trend Report]

Posted by
Valerie-Ann Leary
LivePerson Contributor
05/05/2016 - 12:10

Last week, our global head of product marketing Alon Waks and IDC analyst John Jackson presented a LivePerson-sponsored IDC InfoBrief on meeting the needs of the mobile-first consumer. The results were staggering...but not surprising.

First, the numbers.

At the end of last year, the US alone had 435 million smart mobile devices  in use — that’s 35% higher than the total US population. Among smartphone users, 68% use messaging apps regularly, and, on average, they check those apps five times a day and spend more than 40 minutes per session. And 84% of smartphone engagement with apps is spent communicating via text, email, and social channels. Compare that to the 16% spent on phone calls!

These stats don’t lie. The consumer has spoken...but they didn’t phone it in: They voted with their thumbs.

What does this mean for brands?

The current state of CX is broken. Brands focus too much on channel and transaction, ignoring the customer’s preferences, frustrating the customer, lowering CSAT scores, and, ultimately, negatively affecting their bottom line.  

But wherever there’s a disconnect, there’s also opportunity. In increasing numbers brands are turning to messaging platforms and apps to offer more efficient, convenient customer service — much to the delight of customers everywhere. Here are three ways brands can do it better in 2016 (and beyond).

Customer service for a new wave of digital.

1. Make messaging a priority. Being available to customers where they already are shows how much you value their experience. “Omnichannel” might have been the hottest buzzword years ago, but today omnichannel means inconsistent, disconnected customer service. The digital-first consumer won’t stand for the inconvenience of jumping from channel to channel or having to tolerate otherwise poor service. They’ll turn elsewhere — and they won’t have to look far. Only the brands that adopt the right platforms will prevail. Those that don’t will go the way of AIM…

2. Forge ahead with stronger connections. The #1 activity that elicits a sense of connectedness? Text/messaging. It’s displaced voice (#2) and is followed by various Facebook and Twitter activities. Perhaps one of messaging’s greatest assets is that it’s a win-win. Consumers benefit from using a familiar (and preferred) platform sans learning curve that’s available around the clock, and brands extend their customer reach, provide more personal assistance, and have better access to consumer analytics. Which brings me to my next point...

3. Keep your finger on the pulse. Outside the ability to connect, messaging has made strides in how brands can gauge customer sentiment in ways voice never could. Messaging analytics and text mining provide the most comprehensive overview of customer sentiment as well as key topics that specifically drives them toward or away from a brand. This removes the need for disruptive, opt-in customer surveys for feedback and reveals their sentiment objectively.

Messaging puts the consumer first, turning transactions into conversations and fostering the brand-consumer relationship through personal, one-on-one connections. Customers feel their needs are understood and attended to as they get the fast, convenient, and reliable service they’ve come to expect.

The consumer has made their voice loud and clear (without saying a word). Brands that get the message will rise above. Brands that don’t will lose customers — and fast.

Got 10 minutes? Read the full IDC InfoBrief. Got 50? Watch Alon’s discussion with IDC analyst John Jackson here.

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