What Customers Want Most From Brands Today

We all know that customer expectations are at an all-time high and that the pandemic has forever changed the way consumers interact with brands. A new study reveals how companies can use empathy to help their consumers feel more connected at a time when so many of us feel isolated.

When customers contact a company to ask a question or resolve an issue, their desire for a speedy resolution is a given and their preference for relevance is expected. But neither is their top priority. About two thirds of consumers (67 percent) prefer an empathetic customer service experience over efficient resolution and (gasp!) personalization, according to “Human Connections in Crisis,” a study by the global customer experience leader Genesys and market research firm Savanta. 

But wait, there’s more.

That preference for empathy extends to resolution and personalization. Customers want the companies they interact with to know and understand them and their needs. A third of the 2,000 respondents say they want companies to anticipate why they called, 46 percent feel more connected when a company remembers them, and 43 percent expect companies to resolve their issue, not upsell them. In fact, respondents consider all these actions as integral to an exceptional customer experience (CX).

More than half (52 percent) want to hear from companies with non-sales communications and 49 percent say these additional communications enhance the customer experience. In fact, 53 percent want more of them when they further the experience by, for example, helping to troubleshoot or fine-tune their use of a product they’ve purchased. 

What else improves CX? Data. Two-thirds of respondents think that companies deliver better service experiences when they collect data on their customers. Even so, 71 percent try to control data collection to some extent. Fourteen percent always allow companies to collect data, while 15 percent never allow it.

When it comes to empathetic customer service experiences, consumers want agents to:

  • Listen to them (88%)
  • Understand their needs (86%)
  • Value their time (85%)
  • Provide consistent answers (85%)
  • Solve their problem (84%)
  • Set realistic expectations (81%)

And when it comes to marketing, aligning with customer service and sharing the data integral to providing empathetic, personalized experiences is the best path forward to supporting consumers and meeting their expectations at a time when we all can use a bit of compassion and understanding.

This article originally appeared on MKTGinsight.