Happy Friday! ‘This week in CX’ brings you the latest roundup of industry news.

This week, we have a follow-up to Interactions’ survey earlier this year which revealed that customers would rather have a cavity filled than deal with customer service teams. There’s also new research on the pain points for delivery processes in the retail industry as we approach the busiest shopping season.

Key news

  • Forrester predicts that 2024 will be the year in which businesses finally start to significantly defund the legacy holdouts and make the smaller, targeted, tech investments to move them forward. Digital leaders should prepare by putting consumer data at the center of their 2024 planning.
  • Data released by Juni, the financial platform built for digital commerce, has revealed that Amazon’s ad share among UK ecommerce businesses jumped from 1.7% in Q2 2023 to 6.1% Q3 2023 – knocking TikTok from third to fourth place. Meta remains the dominant platform, securing 60.3% of total ad share in Q3. However,  Google made the biggest long-term gains, increasing its ad share by 7.4% year on year, to 26.6% in total for Q3. Overall ad spend by online retailers has jumped 67% YoY as peak retail season approaches.
  • Out of Home (OOH) advertising usually incorporates billboards and posters we see in the real world, such as on public transport. TikTok recently revealed plans for a new ad solution in this space, “Out of Phone“, which will allow brands to leverage TikTok content on OOH placements. 
  • Do “office housework” tasks, such as note-taking and organising events, tend to disproportionately fall on women? This is the reality for many ambitious and skilled women in the workforce, who feel obligated to volunteer for tasks that do nothing to enhance their career progression, writes author Lauren Neal.

Commentary share: AI regulation topic highlighted again

UK prime minister, Rishi Sunak, shares that the UK will not rush to regulate AI anytime soon. Here is comment on this recent remark from Mark Barry, EMEA Managing Director at HubSpot.  

“Artificial intelligence (AI) is hailed as a game-changer, but with great power comes great responsibility. The UK government is stepping up to understand and prevent potential pitfalls like job displacement and cyber-crime. We must face these challenges head-on with stringent standards, human oversight, and global coordination. Businesses must also step up, assuring their customers, employees, and stakeholders that AI will be deployed with trust, transparency, and accountability. Let’s harness AI’s potential to serve humanity, not the other way around.”

Businesses know customers are frustrated. What are they doing about it?

In spring 2023, Interactions debuted a nationwide survey gauging 1,000 consumers’ sentiment toward customer support. This inaugural “Would You Rather” Index humorously shared what consumers would prefer doing instead of engaging with customer service, and revealed their deep dissatisfaction with CX. You can find our coverage of this here.

They have now released part two, this time surveying 500 U.S. business leaders to understand how cognizant they are of their consumers’ frustrations.

Surprisingly, the results revealed that business leaders in many cases possess a dimmer view of customer support than their own consumers. But just as consumers believe the path to improvement is through personalised experiences that blend digital and human engagement, so too do the leaders.

Business leaders know customer service is important—96% agree excellent experiences boost brand loyalty. But they also know CX continues to be a problem for consumers. In fact, 43% of leaders believe their customers would rather get a cavity filled than engage with customer support, and 41% believe their customers would rather plunge a toilet.

Compare these results to those from consumers, who were asked the same questions in spring 2023: 38% reported they would rather get a cavity filled than contact customer service while 37% said they would rather plunge a toilet.

As we approach the 2023 holiday season—in which order volumes will increase significantly and travel is expected to spike once again—these new results become even more concerning:

  • 94% of business leaders say customers expect better customer service than they currently receive.
  • 58% cite long hold times as the primary reason for their customers’ frustration
  • 53% note multiple call transfers are a major pain point
  • 46% point to their customers being frustrated for repeating themselves to automated systems that do not understand them.

The delivery and returns headaches facing retailers & shoppers

As we head into peak shopping season, retail experts predict Christmas Shopping growth to dip from last year. As such, Global Blue retail brands; ZigZag Global and Shipup have teamed up to launch a new research report revealing the current challenges facing retailers and shoppers today.

Online shopping is still a priority for many, with almost two-thirds of shoppers making an online purchase at least once per week (61%). However, deliveries and returns are becoming a significant thorn in the side of shoppers with 93% of shoppers experiencing delivery delays (35% regularly). Furthermore, 43% of shoppers found that it’s up to them to flag delivery delays to the retailer.

When it comes to returns, this is also having a significant impact on shoppers, with 53% claiming they will not buy from a retailer if they don’t like their returns policy. Considering 84% of shoppers always check the returns policy, this could have a significant impact on the number of sales if retailers aren’t getting their returns policy right. 

Deter delivery dramas

Interestingly, the research found that when it comes to delivery, speed is not the be all and end all. In fact, an accurate delivery estimate is important to more shoppers (57%) than a quick delivery (43%). 

Furthermore, communication is key. Currently, only a quarter of shoppers are receiving branded communications from retailers on deliveries. A more worrying figure is that 23% of shoppers hear from the carrier about delivery but nothing from the retailers themselves. 

Even though delivery can be the first experience of a brand, it can also be the most damning as 38% of shoppers said they wouldn’t shop with a retailer again after a poor delivery experience. A further 37% were unsure. That’s not to say it’s all over at this stage, shoppers can be persuaded after a poor delivery with an apology and discount (54%) or proactive customer service (43%). 

That said, it’s the tracking that appears to be key with 80% stating that proactive tracking alerts are important to them. Almost half of shoppers always track their deliveries (43%) and this is the ideal time for retailers to engage with their shoppers. However, 35% of shoppers find the tracking updates unhelpful or confusing. 

The returns race

Returns policies have a significant impact on the buying habits of UK shoppers, the research finding that the majority (84%) checking the returns policy during their decision-making. This number has increased from 76% the previous year. Of that number, 53% have decided not to buy an item in the past because they didn’t like the returns policy. 

According to UK shoppers, a good returns policy should:

  • Be free of charge (82%)
  • Provide a fast refund (72%)
  • Provide multiple options for returns (46%)
  • Provide printerless returns (42%)

Currently, 35% of shoppers say they are more likely to make a return due to the cost-of-living crisis, which is putting a strain on shopper’s purse strings. Whilst there is a significant rise in retailers charging for returns, to try and offset the cost, many shoppers still prefer returns to be free (82%). Having said that, the research did also find that 61% of shoppers would still buy from a retailer if they charged for returns.

Thanks for tuning into CXM’s weekly roundup of industry news. Check back next Friday for the latest updates of the week!

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