Is your organization struggling to deliver a positive customer experience?

Foundever™ research suggests brands need to work harder to meet consumer needs, especially when it comes to self-service and digital forms of customer experience delivery.

Published ·August 2, 2023

Reading time·5 min

Consumers are more ready than ever to leave a brand that can’t deliver the right levels of CX, and they’re also prepared to pay a premium to those organizations that can.  

This is the key finding from our whitepaper “Foundever CX landscape 2022-2023: Evolution or revolution?” 

Customers will not forgive poor CX

Based on responses from over 6,000 consumers in Brazil, France, Germany, Spain, the U.S. and the U.K., our latest research shows that consumers have great expectations and, in many instances, brands are failing to meet them.  

Just 11% of consumers are certain that they would forgive a brand for poor CX and continue to be customers, while 78% are equally certain that one bad experience is all it would take to switch.  

With expectations this high, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that 45% of consumers — and 58% of Brazilian consumers — have ended a brand relationship this year because of a poor customer experience. 

Are CX standards sliding?

Respondents feel that while the overall standard of CX has steadily improved in recent years, things are beginning to stall. European consumers are most likely to express this view — only 41% of U.K. and French consumers and 38% of German consumers think they’ve seen a positive change in CX in the last year. On the other side of the Atlantic, respondents express greater optimism. However, the difference isn’t that great — 49% of U.S. consumers believe CX has improved over the past 12 months.  

If consumers feel that the rate of improvement is slowing, and if almost half of all respondents have switched brands over the past 12 months, then organizations need to look at their operations and understand where they’re falling short. 

A subpar self-service experience

One area that needs immediate attention is the provision of self-service. One-in-four consumers want the option of helping themselves and prefer to attempt to resolve their issues rather than having to connect with an organization on a live channel. And yet, due to the current state of CX at the brands with which they interact, only 9% of consumers surveyed say they’re in a position to prioritize self-service over the use of other available channels. 

Organizations need to do more to help consumers help themselves. Seven percent of consumers say that the lack of a self-service option would be enough to end a brand relationship. And 14% of respondents who shared a negative social media post or online review regarding an organization’s CX were motivated to do so because there were no self-service options.  

The growing influence of social media

Other potential issues highlighted by this year’s study include how organizations incorporate social media into their broader approach to CX delivery. The major platforms have established themselves as part of the wider customer journey, and their influence is growing.  

Posts and reviews are helping consumers compare and contrast organizations — 62% of all respondents and 81% of adults younger than 45 accept that social media influences brand choices.  

For instance, social media is emerging as a direct brand engagement channel. For 8% of all respondents, it’s their channel of choice and 17% of consumers have used social media over the last 12 months to connect with an organization. More importantly, 42% of respondents have socially shared a negative brand experience and 63% have shared a positive experience.  

Friendly staff = positive CX

As for what’s motivating consumers to choose one brand over another or share positive and negative experiences, it ultimately comes down to the quality and capabilities of the staff they engage with on their route to resolution.  

Helpful and friendly staff is the number one indicator of whether or not a brand is serious about providing a positive customer experience, and it was chosen by 71% of all respondents. What’s more, where those staff are based and how they’re treated is now a growing focus and another means by which an organization is being judged by its existing and potential customers — 28% of consumers believe that an organization is committed to providing a positive CX if it uses locally based customer service staff. 

Likewise, 29% of consumers would drop a brand if it was found to have unethical trading practices or had been shown to mistreat its staff, and 20% of 18-24-year-olds surveyed would disassociate with a brand that showed a lack of commitment to social or environmental issues.  

Alongside corporate and social responsibility, organizations must focus on speed and efficiency. For 52% of consumers, an easy-to-use website is on the list of attributes required for delivering a positive CX, and 38% of respondents expect an organization to provide online chat support. However, 70% of respondents need a fast response to questions, and 58% think the CX agents on the telephone should be able to provide correct answers to questions.  

The phone is still in favor

In terms of channel mix, while demand for and use of online chat and social media continues to grow, so does the popularity of the telephone among younger consumers.  

The telephone is the channel of choice for 21% of all respondents and is the preferred method of brand communication for 36% of 18-24-year-olds in the U.S., 25% of the same age group in the U.K., 33% in France and 45% in Germany.  

Despite being considered the most tech- and automation-savvy generation, only 27% of all 18-24-year-olds surveyed are confident that a digital or automated channel (rather than speaking with a live agent) would understand a request and provide the right level of assistance.  

The addition of social media and chat support channels puts pressure on organizations to ensure that their traditional channels are delivering against expectations. Specific attention should be paid to how information is captured, shared and provided during an interaction.  

During escalated calls, 57% of respondents said repeating information to multiple team members is the most frustrating aspect of using the phone to connect with a brand or organization.  

But the rewards for delivering quality CX and exceeding customer expectations are worth it because 42% of all respondents and more than half of all 18-34-year-olds are willing to pay more for a product or service if it comes with a superior level of customer experience. 

To learn more global consumer insights about CX, check out our whitepaper “Foundever™ CX landscape 2022-2023: Evolution or revolution?”