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  • NETMEDIA International

Despite headwinds, the customer experience is gaining momentum

36% of French consumers relied more on customer service during the crisis. However, a majority of them have noticed a much better interaction, but are calling for tools that are even easier to use, according to a study published by Mitel and Sapio Research.

60% of European and American consumers have experienced a better customer experience offered by brands and retailers since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, according to a study published by Mitel, specialized in corporate communications, based on a sample of French, British, German and American consumers. It is no surprise that the basics of CRM remain relevant: in France, consumers prefer a fast service (46%), via a team that can be reached at any time (33%). Conversely, the helpful and friendly nature of the advisor is only mentioned by four out of ten customers, far behind the average for the countries surveyed (55% overall average).

"The recent trend in customer perception around the customer experience is very heartening," said John Buszka, Mitel's Executive Vice President, Customer Experience. Companies are increasingly recognizing it as a strategic differentiator and are proving to be smart in prioritizing customer service in an era when connectivity is more important than ever. Now it is critical to maintain the momentum they have worked so carefully to create. By relying on cloud communications, artificial intelligence, omnichannel capabilities and other advanced digital technologies, while striking the right balance of human contact, companies can continue personalizing the customer journey."

On the other hand, the breaks in the journey are sources of dissatisfaction: questioned about their negative experiences, 41% of interviewees mentioned the fact of being put on hold, 47% could not bear to repeat the reason for their call several times with several respondents. Same challenge via chat: three out of ten customers cannot stand a long response time.

A modest breakthrough of the chatbot?

Although the use of chatbot is increasing (70% of consumers who have used customer service want to renew the experience more often in the future), the same is not true for the chosen channels. Thus, phones remain the most widely used (cited by 56% of consumers), followed by e-mail (51%). One third of respondents also say they are much more likely to use a mobile application and to exchange via video conferencing. 14% of respondents even indicate that they would like to interact more with a chatbot, a sign of a change in mindsets. On a wider scale, French customers would like to find the answer on their own as soon as possible (50% are more interested in self-service since the start of the health crisis).

In addition, in terms of sector, French customers on average had their most positive interaction with the customer service department of a retailer or a healthcare player, while the most difficult interactions undoubtedly took place with public services, followed by personal services.

When the experience proves disappointing, customers frequently criticize the company's overall policy. Indeed, in France, 31% of customers consider that the company "does not want to provide a customer experience worthy of the name" after a negative experience, while 29% think that it does not attach sufficient importance to service, an opinion particularly represented among senior citizens. Above all, 44% of French consumers complain about their negative interactions with family and friends.

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