Zendesk Inc.’s latest Customer Experience Trends Report sheds light on how “immersive experiences” help brands stay competitive while helping to ensure customers remain loyal. The report’s authors said 61 percent of customers polled “are excited about experiences that are natural, convenient and fluid.”
The research also showcased the importance of personalization and positive customer service experiences in maintaining brand loyalty.
With immersive experiences, Zendesk said it is evolving into a new standard that redefines how retailers and brands engage with their customers. “This change stems from what people are increasingly demanding of brands today: that they meet them where they are, under their terms, through seamless and engaging interactions.”
To put this trend into context, the report’s authors said over the last few years, “leaders have recognized how this transformation has required an expanded role of CX, prompting them to make major investments to remain competitive and meet elevated customer expectations.”
Adrian McDermott, chief technology officer at Zendesk, said shoppers have high expectations and diminished patience, making it challenging for brands to engage. “This year, our CX Trends shows that this shift in behavior has prompted leaders to invest in technology that creates immersive, seamless experiences,” McDermott said. “These new standards of customer service are critical to boosting customer acquisition and loyalty, as well as profitability.”
In regard to creating positive and engaging experiences, the Zendesk research found that consumers are embracing AI-powered customer service bots — and they expect it to evolve. The report found that 75 percent of respondents “expect AI interactions will become more natural and human-like over time, and the ideal evolution of AI will enable customers to ask increasingly complex questions.”
McDermott said the company knows businesses are working on using AI more, “but there is a growing realization that meeting customers’ expectations will require a more concerted effort. They are not willing to wait for companies to make gradual changes, a signal to businesses that change needs to happen fast.”
Another key finding in the research showed that 59 percent of consumers polled said they want companies “to use the large amount of data they have to provide truly personalized experiences that transcend typical marketing efforts, whether it is online or in-store.”
The research also found that if shoppers have a poor experience with a brand, they’ll move on to a competitor — further spotlighting the importance of customer service.
“As we look ahead, providing excellent customer service will become even more important to build resilience and manage uncertainty,” McDermott said. “The brands that invest in technology to provide a seamless, immersive CX will see a boost in customer acquisition and loyalty and ultimately profitability.”