How Covid Has Changed the Channels of Engagement
Channels of Engagement – Digital with a Human Choice
As the coronavirus forces consumers to engage with brands online, exposing digital shortcomings and leading to consumer frustration, brands should ask: Do customers have to reintroduce themselves every time they engage with your brand over different channels? Is your customer journey frictionless? Does it allow customers to pivot from one channel to another without dreaded re-verification?
Consumers across generations and geographies are getting so frustrated with brands that 73% are considering moving on and spending their dollars elsewhere. While customers are happy to digitally self-serve and laud the speed and convenience of email, text, web, social, chatbots and video, they get frustrated when their needs aren’t met and they can’t escalate to a traditional channel, especially a live person.
When digital fails, humans should be part of the solution. This is one of the key findings in this report by the CMO Council, in partnership with Precisely. In October 2020, we surveyed more than 2,000 consumers spanning five generations (Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers and Silent Generation) and six countries (United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand), in order to analyze what brands need to know to better engage customers in the new normal.
We asked questions about critical channels of exploration and engagement, the rise of digital channels such as interactive and personalized video, the influential role of traditional channels, and how different generations prefer to engage with brands. We also compared this year’s results with last year’s to understand how engagement channels have changed and may have been affected by the coronavirus.
And we found gaps.
For years, brands have touted robust digital transformations, that is, their ability to engage with customers digitally. The pandemic accelerated this by forcing consumers to turn to digital channels, thus putting a brand’s digital transformation to the test. The result was that many brands’ digital channels were lacking, and in some cases they didn’t have the right tools or connectivity to meet their customers in their moment of need.
The problem is only going to get worse as consumers grow more accustomed to digital. They’re turning to digital channels from the beginning of the customer journey and in critical moments of need. Survey results show signs that this type of behavior will continue long after the pandemic.