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Customer Experience, conversational AI, Customer Satisfaction, consumer research

What Your Customers Really Want Based on Consumer Research

Author: Marli Tucker
Customer Experience Optimization Blog Series

Have you ever considered how an experience can affect your customers? Recently, I had one of the worst customer experiences of my life. I needed to contact my insurance about a claim, but the process was an absolute nightmare. The call hold times were almost 2 hours long, the customer service representative was unknowledgeable and unhelpful, and the process was incredibly complicated. 

This experience left me feeling frustrated and angry, and every day, customers encounter the same frustrations. 

Good or bad, a customer experience can completely change the way someone thinks about a company. A great customer service experience goes beyond simply meeting the bare minimum. It means providing friendly, personalized, and dependable assistance wherever and whenever the customer needs it. Unfortunately, many businesses encounter challenges trying to deliver this level of service.

Not to worry though, in this three-part blog series we will discuss how to navigate your customer preferences and frustrations and how AI-powered customer service can help exceed their expectations.

Understanding the Secrets Behind Customer Preferences

Recently, we engaged a 3rd party research firm that helped us study customer expectations. The Customer Experience (CX) Benchmark Report helped us unlock the building blocks of an exceptional customer experience. Our survey uses direct consumer feedback to answer questions like:

  • How do consumers feel about AI, and will they use AI-powered virtual assistants?
  • Do consumers prefer AI-powered chatbots or live customer service representatives?
  • What is the top customer frustration, and how can I prevent it?

The latest CX Benchmark Report can be a handy tool to check customer expectations and what matters to them the most. Want to skip ahead and dive into the report?
Read the Report  

Now, let’s get into it and listen to what the real MVPs - your customers - have to say. 

About the Report:
In partnership with Farrell Insight, a strategic insight specialist, Kore.ai has embarked on a mission to provide you with unparalleled insights. As part of an ongoing insight strategy, we have engaged Farrell Insight to conduct three major national studies in 2023, focusing on benchmarking, trackable data, and invaluable insights related to Customer Experience (CX), Agent Experience (AX), and Employee Experience (EX).

Our custom-crafted online study involved surveying a diverse group of 500 American customer service agents or representatives currently employed in contact centers, both on-site and remotely. These respondents, aged 18-75, represent various regions of the United States and encompass generational and gender diversity to align with industry trends. The survey was conducted in April 2023.

How do consumers really feel about AI-powered customer service?

Lately, there has been a huge surge in interest in automated assistants, with increasing popularity since the arrival of ChatGPT. The 2023 Customer Experience Benchmark Report revealed that there have been significant interactions between consumers and automated assistants. In the last year alone, 39% of people have had at least one interaction with a basic chatbot, while 32% have worked with a more intelligent AI-powered virtual assistant (IVAs). 

This report also found that this growing demand for automated assistants in customer service wasn’t just an interest - it was an expectation. 57% of consumers expect companies to embrace cutting-edge automated assistant technology in customer service interactions. 

Screenshot 2023-10-17 at 4.17.41 PM

Not only do consumers expect this level of innovation, but they also view these companies as valuing their time and having a deeper understanding of their needs. By staying ahead of the curve and investing in advanced customer service solutions, businesses can enhance their reputation and foster stronger connections with their target audience.

Even agents see the value of AI-powered virtual assistants - with roughly 7 in 10 agreeing that intelligent virtual assistants are good for the customer and agent alike. 

Can AI-Powered Virtual Assistants improve customer frustrations?

It's no secret that customer service can sometimes be a major headache. For a whopping 79% of consumers, customer service becomes frustrating when they have to repeat their situation or problem over and over again. This irritation knows no bounds, affecting people from all walks of life, regardless of their gender or age group. The last thing consumers want is to feel like their time is being wasted. 

61% of consumers also find it highly frustrating when they can’t reach a live agent and appreciate when an automated assistant (IVA) intelligently determines when to transfer the call. With the ability to seamlessly move customer history from channel to channel and strong intent recognition, these intelligent bots can handle smooth handovers from self-service to live support. 

Screenshot 2023-10-17 at 4.26.57 PM


Do consumers want AI-powered chatbots or live customer service representatives?

While it may seem like a no-brainer to opt for live customer service, this story takes an unexpected turn. People are increasingly relying on AI-powered virtual assistants to address quick issues or when pressed for time. Both AI-powered chatbots and live agents work together to create great customer experiences. Adweek also noticed this trend, finding that 65% of consumers feel comfortable handling an issue without a human agent. 

Did you know that two-thirds of consumers prefer getting updates on their orders within 30 seconds from an Automated Assistant rather than waiting for a live agent? Salesforce found a similar stat, with 69% of consumers preferring to use chatbots because they provide instant responses. 

Why waste your precious time when you can get the information you need lightning-fast with an AI-powered virtual assistant? Only a 7% gap in approval ratings for IVA (70%) and Live Agent (77%) modes still exists, but consumer preference for IVAs is growing for both simple and complex interactions.

The true purpose of intelligent virtual assistants is to enhance the connection between consumers and sales or customer service representatives by facilitating personalized conversations. Instead of replacing human interaction, this AI-powered technology will work alongside humans to provide a more engaging experience for consumers.


Why there is a growing appreciation for AI-powered virtual assistants

Customers today highly prioritize efficiency and convenience when it comes to self-service options. However, they also expect a quality experience that is often lacking with traditional chatbots. The 2023 Customer Experience (CX) Benchmark Report results indicate that customers are no longer willing to compromise on quality for the sake of convenience.

Now more than ever, customers demand accuracy, speed, and expertise in their interactions with automated self-service systems. They want these systems to be able to understand their needs and provide them with relevant information quickly and accurately. This is where conversational AI, generative AI, and large language models (LLMs) come into play.

Thanks to advancements in technology, IVAs (Intelligent Virtual Assistants) powered by these cutting-edge technologies can now meet the evolving needs of customers. These intelligent assistants are designed to offer not just efficiency and convenience but also a high level of accuracy, speed, and expertise.

It's time to take your customer experience strategy to the next level.

Feed Your Curiosity!

Your journey into Customer Experience insights doesn't end here. Take a deeper dive into the data and insights within our Customer Experience Benchmark Report 2023.

Read the Full Report

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