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Delivering empathy has become a critical factor in providing a great customer experience. And the COVID-19 pandemic — and isolation many felt as a result of social distancing and quarantines — only heightened this desire for customers to be treated better than before.
When asked how the pandemic affected their lives, 40% of consumers surveyed in the recent Genesys report “The connected customer experience: CX defines brand success for consumers today” stated they feel less connected, more unhappy, and have experienced a decline in physical and mental health as a result of pandemic. They’ve also found themselves feeling socially isolated.
The study, which surveyed over 11,000 consumers across the US, Latin America, Europe and Asia-Pacific aims to understand how the pandemic has shaped consumer behavior — and how businesses should adjust to meet these changes. In this episode of the “The Consultant Podcast,” I interviewed authors Claire Beatty, Senior Director of Thought Leadership, and Ginger Conlon, Director of Thought Leadership, to hear about their learnings.
Consumers Feel Widespread Social Isolation
Across the globe, survey respondents felt socially isolated as a result of the pandemic. Lockdowns, remote working, concern for friends and family, juggling childcare, and uncertainty about the future have been challenging for everyone in different ways.
Because of this, many look to companies for that sense of outside contact. Digital interactions have increased exponentially, as customers are more confident and comfortable using digital channels — and they’re more willing to engage with new channels like video conferencing.
Companies Fall Short of Consumer Expectations
Seventy percent of respondents noted that a company is only as good as its customer experience. There’s a big gap to close when it comes to customer experience perceptions.
Many companies believe they’re on the right track to make customer service easier, yet one-third of respondents said that “dealing with customer service is always a hassle.” Through the pandemic, only half of survey respondents said they’ve experienced good customer service. And one in six customers in the US and Asia-Pacific region have called a company’s customer service department just to have a conversation and hear a human voice.
It’s Time to Up Your Empathy Game
Data shows that empathy is the number one consumer request. And that means “companies need to meet the customer on their journeys, understand what the customer is trying to achieve and get them to a complete resolution as efficiently as possible,” said Claire Beatty.
With the right technology, companies can “sense” a customer’s intent and get them what they need as fast as possible. “It’s really about being in the shoes of the customer — that’s what we mean by empathy.”
To hear the full discussion on the report as well as real-world case studies, listen to the podcast today.
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