How does CX impact brand trust?
Trust is central to any brand’s relationship with its customers. 9 out of 10 consumers will change supplier if they lose trust in a company – nearly half of them immediately - according to the newly published 2019 Eptica Digital Trust study.
The study found that the key to creating trust is to simply to do what customers expect of you. Make their experience of interacting with your business easy and seamless, respond to queries swiftly with accurate information, and do what you say you’re going to do. This is the bedrock of trust – do the little things right, consistently.
The Eptica Digital Trust study aims to analyze just how successfully UK brands are achieving these fundamentals. The research has two strands; first, we surveyed 1,000 consumers on their attitudes and expectations around trust; second, we conducted real-world research that tested the ability of 50 leading UK brands to provide fast, consistent and accurate answers on the key channels of the web, social media, email and chat. In this study, we focused on fashion, food and drink, travel, insurance and banking brands.
On the face of it, the findings paint a positive picture. 69% of questions across all channels now receive a satisfactory response, up from 59% in 2017. But this still means that nearly a third of questions are not being answered, and certain channels were found to be performing worse than others.
Looking in more detail, here are five key findings from the report:
1. Too many customer questions are still left unanswered
59% of the consumers that were surveyed said satisfactory, consistent and fast answers are key to trust. Yet many of the brands we tested performed poorly in doing this – especially over email. Just a third of queries on email received a satisfactory response. Under half (45%) of tweets were answered accurately. Showing the scale of the issue, none of the 10 banks tested could successfully respond to a routine email question about cancelling a bank card from abroad, for example.
2. The gap between best and worst is widening
There are big differences between and within sectors. Fashion retailers successfully answered 60% of questions across all channels – but insurance managed just 46%. Three travel brands answered 100% of queries on the web, but two others managed just 40%. Only 20% of insurers responded to an emailed question about loyalty discounts.
We live in a winner takes all world. That means that poor performing brands need to increase their focus and address such basic mistakes. Otherwise, they face being swept aside by the new breed of agile digital disruptor brands who are heavily focused on customer experience.
3. Brands are still not listening
Success in customer experience is about constant improvement – and that means listening to your customers and acting on their insight. Yet the overwhelming majority (92%) of consumers say brands aren’t listening all the time, with three-quarters (74%) saying they listen half the time or less. Nearly one in five (18%) think they don’t listen at all.
There’s a wealth of insights to improve processes and build more loyalty and trust that can be gathered by paying attention to customer interactions and conversations, yet this goldmine seems to be being ignored by many brands. New techniques such as AI-based text analytics make it easier than ever to analyze conversations on digital channels - but consumers certainly don’t feel that this is happening.
4. Brands are not delivering multichannel experiences
Forget the nirvana of providing seamless, omnichannel experiences. The study shows that brands are still struggling with delivering a multichannel experience. For example, only one company successfully answered questions on four channels (email, Twitter, Facebook and chat) – and even that brand gave inconsistent responses to the same question on different channels. Silos persist, with knowledge not effectively shared between internal teams and channels, undermining the experience and damaging trust. This also makes delivering customer service more inefficient, hurting the brand as well as the consumer.
5. Resources are stretched
The overall number of queries answered is higher than in the 2017 study. However, companies appear to be struggling to deliver the right levels of performance across every channel in a timely manner. Demonstrating this, on Facebook, while there were more accurate answers, the average time to successfully respond increased from 2 hours 21 minutes to 3 hours 24 minutes. And while 44% of companies claimed to offer live chat, only 26% had it working when tested.
The number of customer queries is only going to increase, meaning brands must bring in more resources or find ways to work more efficiently. This should include using AI and self-service to address more routine queries, for example.
The findings of the Eptica Digital Trust Study demonstrate that consumers want to buy from brands that they trust - and the customer experience is a key aspect of this. However, the report suggests that there’s a lot that many brands can still do to improve in this area. Breaking down silos and ensuring knowledge and resources are shared more widely to deliver a consistent experience across channels is important. As is listening to and learning from customer interactions and finding ways to use technology such as AI to handle the increasing volume of customer queries across digital channels. In a winner takes all world, business survival may well depend on it.