The Disconnect in Experiences Consumers Want - and What Businesses Deliver

The Disconnect in Experiences Consumers Want - and What Businesses Deliver

A global survey of 690 CX executives and 2,629 consumers over the age of 18 analyzes trends in consumer expectations, where businesses are getting it right — and where they’re getting it wrong. Commissioned by Genesys between April and May 2021, the “State of Customer Experience” report is the second iteration of a survey first conducted in 2017 and compares consumer preferences and shifts in customer experience (CX) over the last four years.

When it comes to customer service, the study found that the biggest disconnect between consumers and businesses is the desire to solve an issue the first time a customer contacts a company.

Although more than half of conusmers (54%) indicated that they want their queries dealt with in the first interaction, only 33% of companies place first-contact resolution (FCR) as its most valued factor in a customer interaction. Professionalism/friendliness (48%) and trustworthiness of the business (34%) are what companies value the most when interacting with a client.

Source: 2021 Genesys State of Customer Experience Report

This is interesting to note, as most companies (58%) view CX as a board-level priority, running parallel with 70% of the consumers believing that a company is as only as good as its customer service. Therefore, excellent CX is a crucial support beam in driving businesses forward. What is concerning, though, is that two-thirds of companies do not see FCR as a priority, revealing the gap between expected service delivery from consumers and actual CX output delivered by companies.

By unpacking consumer preferences, this report provides an opportunity for businesses to transform the way they meet their customer’s expectations, shifting the paradigm from company-centric outcomes to customer-centric experiences.

Below are some salient highlights from the report:

Listening drives loyalty, as 90% of repeat customers pointed to a business’ ability to listen as their most important attribute. Consumers have finger-tip access to curated content, such as TikTok and Instagram, and thus have an expectation that brands must understand them and pay attention to their likes and dislikes. Listening and showing genuine attention is rewarded with customer loyalty and advocacy. 80% of consumers stated that they would purchase additional items, recommend the company to a friend, and purchase repeat items when given a personalized experience. This is a 10% increase from 2017.

Source: 2021 Genesys State of Customer Experience Report

Digital channels usage as doubled, but voice is still the most-utilized channel (68%). Between 2017 and 2021, the number of customer interactions via messaging, mobile apps, chatbots, social media and video calling has more than doubled. Home assistants, such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa, are even becoming popular CX channels, where one in 10 consumers across the globe have interacted with customer services through devices such as these.

27% of millennials and Generation Z consumers state that they will only purchase from ethical and sustainable brands – and would pay more. Businesses are being held accountable for the way they manage their social and environmental impact by younger generations through their spending power. Almost half of consumers aged between 18 to 34 said they would prefer to buy from companies that align with their social, ethical, and environmental values, even if it means paying more for goods and services. In order, the top five consumer values include data protection, animal welfare, health and wellness, human rights, and environmental protection.

40% of consumers will be brand ambassadors on social media when given excellent CX. Social media has become a platform for consumers to praise companies for positive CX. Along with a great experience, consumers will also highlight exceptional effort by an agent on social media.

Source: 2021 Genesys State of Customer Experience Report

The State of Customer Experience report also illustrates the increased focus on customer-centric experiences as a business advantage from increased headcounts and budgets to increasing digital capabilities.

64% of companies are increasing their CX headcount for their contact centers. Voice is still the most widely used channel and has, in fact, doubled from 2020 to 2021, resulting in the increased need for more contact center agents to handle the call volumes.

Along with headcount, overall budgets are being expanded for nearly 75% of businesses, due to the rise in traffic and the growing importance of CX. In 2021, 71% of surveyed companies received a budget increase and 21% saw a budget increase of 50% and more.

Source: 2021 Genesys State of Customer Experience Report

Providing agents with innovative tools to improve employee experience is a priority. Investments in new technologies are being made to improve CX management and enhance an employees’ ability to deliver greater service. Predictive analytics (59%), agent-assist technology (58%), quality management and workforce optimization (57%) are viewed by business leaders as the most valuable new technologies in managing the customer experience.

There is an increased utilization of virtual home assistants as customer service agents. Google Home and Amazon Alexa are examples of the virtual home assistants that are being used by 30% of businesses. Another 29% of businesses plan to integrate customer services with virtual home assistants within the next six months. 46% of consumers have rated virtual assistants as the best customer interaction method – the highest rated channel, showing major opportunities to enhance CX.  

Source: 2021 Genesys State of Customer Experience Report

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