Consumer demand for digitization has been growing for years, but COVID-19 enforced the need for online, on-demand interactions. Consumers accustomed to mobile services like Amazon and Uber expect digital convenience from service providers across industries.
Facing disruption, many high-touch service providers have adapted with new technology. But are these solutions actually delivering the convenient experiences their clients want?
To understand how consumers prefer to engage with businesses and what strategy service providers need to employ, Moxo surveyed 1,000 consumers and 200 senior-level decision makers in the healthcare, education, insurance and logistics industries. The results highlighted the ongoing importance of convenience to consumers and revealed areas where businesses need to level up their technology offerings to deliver on consumer expectations.
For clients, convenience is king — and it’s inextricably tied to digital
More than a quarter of consumers (27%) said convenience is their primary reason for choosing and remaining loyal to certain service providers — neck and neck with great customer service (28%). That’s no surprise, as customer service and convenience are tightly interconnected, and a best business practice is to marry an engaging service experience with convenient accessibility.
Top 3 reasons for choosing/remaining loyal to certain service providers
Consumers want access to a range of human and digital touch points to meet their needs quickly and seamlessly. However, digital touchpoints are more important to convenience. Almost half (49%) of respondents said a mobile app was the most important feature when engaging with a service provider, beating out the ability to talk to a human representative (43%), low cost factors (36%) and a physical location to visit (31%).
Top 5 features most important to consumers when engaging with a service provider
It’s important for service providers to give client interactions a human touch — and more importantly, to offer these interactions over digital channels. The majority of consumers (51%) prefer exclusively digital interactions over in-person meetings where possible, and the overwhelming majority (91%) of consumers said the ability to access all information relevant to the service in one place is important to them (i.e.a mobile app or web portal). By centralizing information digitally, high-touch service providers can deliver the convenient, digital-first experience consumers demand.
Consumers’ preferences for interacting with service providers the majority of the time for non-urgent matters
Despite a wave of digitization during COVID-19, service providers have more to streamline
On the surface, the widespread digitization driven by COVID-19 was a major success. Forty-one percent of consumers said their service providers became more digital, and therefore, more convenient to use after the shift to remote operations due to the pandemic.
“During the pandemic, my service providers became …”
However, significant pain points remain. Almost half (47%) of consumers found it challenging to learn the new digital tools, systems, processes, etc. rolled out by their service providers over the past year. When asked what their biggest pain points are when interacting with service providers, more than half of consumers (54%) cited communication issues as their top difficulty. And nearly half (46%) of consumers say all their pain points with service providers have worsened over the past year.
Consumers’ top 5 pain points when interacting with service providers
Technology offers a resolution to consumers’ communication concerns. When asked what would most improve their experience with service providers, 19% of consumers chose asynchronous communication — the ability to send a message to a company representative on their own time, including outside of business hours. Service providers can enable asynchronous communication by shifting customer communication away from phone calls and in-person visits, and onto an all-in-one interactive experience within a mobile app or web portal.
By enabling just-in-time service, asynchronous communication can also help service providers deliver better customer service, consumers’ top answer choice for what would improve their experiences.
Top 3 things that would improve consumers’ experience engaging with service providers
Service providers are struggling to meet consumer demand for digital convenience.
Eighty percent of business leaders agree with the statement: “Consumers expect higher levels of digital convenience from our organization compared to a year ago.” Yet business leaders may still be underestimating consumers’ appetite for digital engagement. As we noted above, more than half (51%) of consumers would prefer to engage with their service providers digitally as much as possible. But only 39% of business leaders said that’s their engagement strategy moving forward — a 27% gap.
Service providers’ near-term consumer engagement strategies
Implementation hurdles also hold service providers back from taking full advantage of the technology at their fingertips. For example, almost three-quarters (72%) of business leaders say it’s challenging for their organizations to onboard customers to new digital tools, systems and processes.
When asked about their organizations’ biggest pain points when engaging with consumers, business leaders indicated they don’t have the necessary resources, and process and technological inefficiencies create roadblocks. Additionally, a clear majority (60%) say cost is a major concern when it comes to implementing new digital tools and solutions that might solve these issues.
Biggest pain points when engaging with consumers
Top 5 circumstances that hold organizations back from implementing new digital tools and solutions
Fortunately, many of these pain points can be addressed with the right technology.
Embracing the digital future of convenience
In recent years we’ve seen a surge of digitization across industries — and it will only continue to grow. To meet consumer demand for convenience, high-touch service providers must close the gaps in their digital offerings while maintaining their signature white-glove service to their clients. Deploying a technology strategy that centralizes information, enables asynchronous communication and boosts efficiency within a web portal or mobile app can allow service providers to translate the human touch to digital, engage clients and bolster internal processes.