The state of customer service in 2022

Topic: Black Friday, Marketing

Did you know that more than half of consumers now care more about customer experience (CX) than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic? Providing excellent CX has long been a priority for businesses but now it’s clearer than ever that it should be the top priority. 

Here are some customer service trends, compiled from our global survey of 4,000+ consumers, that you need to know about if you’re going to craft and deliver an outstanding customer experience.

1. Most customers expect a response within 24 hours

In our ‘always on’ connected world, we expect super-responsive customer service. This is backed up by our research that found 80% of consumers around the world would wait up to 24 hours for a response from customer service. 

Australian consumers are slightly more impatient, with 81% expecting a response within 24 hours. Is your customer service department equipped to handle this demand?

2. Email newsletters are customers’ favourite way to engage with brands

With an average email open rate of 21% across industries and a click through rate (CTR) of 3%, you may wonder if email is even something your customers actually want. It turns out that it is – globally, 48% of consumers have signed up to their favourite brand’s newsletters and in Australia, 46% have. 

Instagram, Facebook and SMS/text messaging follow suit at 37%, 40% and 31%. But with email taking the lead, it’s obvious that this communication channel should stay a key part of your strategy. Boost open rates by testing out subject lines. How creative can you get? And improve CTR by AB testing different call-to-actions, imagery and more.

3. Customers want to receive texts from businesses

Over 90% of the world’s population owns a mobile phone, so SMS as a marketing channel shouldn’t be underestimated. And it’s not just in terms of reach; SMS boasts an average open rate of 98% and CTR of 20%

In our survey, we found that 82% of global consumers are signed up to receive texts from businesses, with 59% receiving texts from one to six brands. In Australia, 82% of consumers have opted in to texts and 64% receiving texts from one to six brands.

So, customers want to receive texts from businesses. Therefore, consider incorporating SMS into your marketing strategy if you haven’t already. 

Note: Although SMS has higher open and click through rates, it doesn’t mean it’s better than email. In fact, set your marketing strategy up for success when you use both channels in tandem.

4. There’s a correlation between communication frequency and channel

Bombard customers with marketing materials and they’ll almost certainly hit ‘unsubscribe’. That’s likely something you already know. But do you know how often your customers want to hear from you?

Generally, a couple of times a week appears to be the preference for the majority of customers. We found that 39% of global consumers would be happy to hear from businesses via email 1-2 times a week and 35% for texts 1-2 times a week. If that’s not frequent enough, 25% would be happy to receive emails once a day compared to 19% for text. 

Judging from these findings, it seems consumers prefer to be contacted via email more frequently than text. And indeed, we found that twice as many consumers preferred receiving texts less than once a month than email (20% compared to 10%).

5. Although customers appreciate marketing messages, they’d prefer to hear about their personal information

Marketing and promotional activities are a go-to when it comes to an email or SMS marketing strategy. And it’s what customers want to hear about too, with 64% of consumers happy to hear about such things.

But it’s actually what they want to hear about the least. The top three things global consumers want to hear about are:

  1. Delivery information (85%)
  2. Payment reminders (78%)
  3. Account updates (74%)

That’s not to say you should turn off your marketing emails and texts. Don’t forget that nearly ⅔ of consumers still want to hear about them. Plus, there’s value in sending marketing texts or WhatsApp messages in particular, as 81% of global consumers would consider purchasing a product as a result of an SMS or WhatsApp message.

So rather than turning off or reducing marketing emails and SMS, consider prioritising what you choose to promote instead. For example, segment your customer and prospect lists and send personalised messages with promotions tailored to the individual.

6. Email remains a popular customer support channel…

The rise of mobile technology could suggest that customers are increasingly preferring to reach out to customer support via text or WhatsApp. After all, it allows for an asynchronous, conversational customer experience. 

However, we found that email remains the most popular route to customer support, both in Australia and across the globe. 

Globally, 69% of consumers would prefer to email compared to 64% of Aussie consumers. Then comes phone calls at 40% globally and calls to customer support for Australia at 43%. 

7. …but customers still want to reach their favourite brands via text or WhatsApp

Despite email being the most popular way for customers to reach customer service, they’d still text or WhatsApp brands if it was an option. That’s what our research suggests, with 48% of global consumers and 46% of Australian consumers stating this.

Solutions like SMS and WhatsApp are excellent channels if you want to improve customer retention, loyalty and overall experience. For example, WhatsApp Business Platform allows your customer service team to:

  • Have natural, two-way conversations with customers on the platform they use personally
  • Converse at a pace that suits your customer and business
  • Benefit from automation – e.g. a chatbot can handle FAQs, giving time back to your team that they can then spend on higher value tasks
  • Personalise interactions, thanks to integrations with CRM and analytics software

Customer service expectations have reached new heights. Can your business keep up?

Businesses need to keep up with the customer service trends of 2022 and one of the easiest ways of doing this is through messaging apps that allow you to stay the course. Replying in real-time on a preferred platform in a way that is personalised, meaningful and engaging will elevate and humanise your brand in a way that resonates with customers.

With these trends and demands in mind, is your business ready for Black Friday? In our guide, you can discover our research when it comes to digital shopping habits, what customers expect from businesses and how they’re planning to spend their money during this period.

Download your copy below.

Author Avatar
Prachi Bametha

Marketing Coordinator, Esendex Australia