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6 Things People Value Most in Their Customer Service Experience

Meeting customer and guest experience expectations can win new customers and make sure the current ones stick around.

When you’re not meeting guest experience expectations, customers can become dissatisfied, often abandoning your brand for a competitor, according to “Experience is Everything: Here’s How to Get it Right,” a report from accounting and advisory firm PwC.

“Good customer experience minimizes friction, maximizes speed and efficiency and maintains a human element, embedded within automation, AI or other technologies,” says the report. “It leaves consumers feeling heard, seen and appreciated. It has a tangible impact that can be measured in dollars and cents.”

So, which aspects of the customer experience do consumers value most?

“Technologies and improvements that increase speed, convenience, friendliness and knowledge — core demands of consumers — are openings for companies to improve how people interact with, embrace and spend with their brand,” according to the PwC report, which conducted an online and in-field survey of 15,000 people from the U.S. and 11 other countries.

Read on for more findings from the report on what customers value most in their customer experience.

1. A good overall experience

Your business won’t typically get many second chances when it comes to missing the boat on good customer service. “One in three consumers (32 percent) say they will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience,” according to the PwC report.

“73 percent of all people point to customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions. Yet only 49 percent of U.S. consumers say companies provide a good customer experience today.”

2. Convenience and friendly service

Around 43 percent of consumers surveyed said they’d pay more for greater convenience, and 42 percent would pay more for a “friendly, welcoming experience,” according to the report. In fact, 65 percent of survey respondents said a positive experience with a brand is “more influential than great advertising.”

3. Speed, convenience and competent staff

“Nearly 80 percent of American consumers point to speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendly service as the most important elements of a positive customer experience,” says the PwC report.

4. Price and quality

Price and quality top the list of customer service expectations when it comes to purchasing decisions, according to the report. That goes for most industries, but especially with the following sectors:

  • Healthcare: 78 percent
  • Banking: 75 percent
  • Restaurants: 74 percent
  • Hotels: 74 percent

5. Knowledgeable employees

Nearly half (46 percent) of customers said they would stop using a business of the employees weren’t knowledgeable, according to the PwC report.

“Only 38 percent of U.S. consumers say the employees they interact with understand their needs and 46 percent of consumers outside the U.S. say the same.”

6. The human touch

Even though many consumers want quick answers to their questions or other services from mobile apps and website chatbots, they still occasionally want the human touch, too.

More than half  (64 percent) of U.S. consumers and 59 percent of all consumers surveyed said they believe companies have lost touch with the “human element” of customer experience, and nearly three quarters (71 percent) prefer interacting with a person than a chatbot, according to the PwC report>

PwC recommends utilizing automation but ensuring that customers can reach a human when they need one:

“In turn, automated solutions should “learn” from human interactions so those experiences also improve. This shift allows your employees to be more engaged when they’re needed, provide better service and get necessary support from technology — as part of the seamless experience.”