In Talkdesk’s latest research on customer engagement, retailers and brands are moving from cost cuts to making investments aimed at creating more “unified engagements” with shoppers. Moreover, the authors of the report said while growth remains a priority, “how companies want to achieve it has changed. Organizations across industries are focusing more on their investments in customer service to better retain their customers. Client acquisition remains important, but loyalty has become the new North Star.”
The survey of businesses found that 41 percent of respondents plan to invest in video chat, while 39 percent said they’re planning investments in voice-based, artificial intelligence virtual agents. “Nearly a third (31 percent) say they will invest in livestream video channels, such as YouTube, TikTok and Twitch for customer support,” the report noted.
Meanwhile, 24 percent of those polled said they “plan to deliver consistent, interactive engagement via next-generation channels like the metaverse and support augmented or virtual reality interactions within two years, while 12 percent say they are already doing it today.”
When asked about their top desired outcomes from investments in customer service software, 54 percent hoped for increased customer retention. New customer acquisition came in next with 48 percent, and growing revenue through the contact center garnered 40 percent.
Shannon Flanagan, vice president of retail and consumer goods at Talkdesk, said, “For too long, many brands have deprioritized differentiation through service. What is promising to see is the pivot from cost reduction being a top consideration for CX investments. Instead, brands now understand the strategic importance of engaging service experiences as a way to drive growth and retention.”
Flanagan also said while companies “are committed to pushing beyond transactional and reactive customer service, their efforts are being stymied by talent and technology challenges. The latest Talkdesk Research highlights the shifts in priorities and demonstrates ways brands can reach their CX goals today.”
Some of these changes in priorities are due to macroeconomic forces such as a shortage in customer-facing staff, said the authors of the report, which “calls for rethinking customer service enablement.”
The authors of the report said survey participants “cite this as the most significant hurdle to achieving their customer service ambitions. It is imperative, therefore, that retailers equip and empower staff to provide high-quality, engaging support to customers and connect that with meaningful career growth.”
Additionally, due to these factors, Talkdesk found a growing number of retailers are turning to nontraditional customer support channels. “In fact, (35 percent) count brand ambassadors and influencers (29 percent) among the resources available to customers for handling questions and service inquiries,” the report noted.
The authors of the report said consumers are already buying into this trend, “and more than a third (38 percent) of surveyed retailers say their customers prefer brand ambassadors and influencers to serve as their go-to resource for service and support.”