Customers don’t want to be left in the dark—that’s a given. But what do they really want to know, and how should you tell them? What are the best channels to reach them through? Where are they spending their time looking for the right information? Are they actually using bots and voice assistants for shopping?These are just a few of the questions the Narvar team set out to answer with our most recent consumer survey. The resulting study, Bots, Texts and Voice: What Cuts Through the Clutter, sheds light on the issue of customer communication, looking at the key trends of today, along with the evolving landscape and what we might see more of tomorrow.
So, what were some of the significant findings? Here’s a little peek:
- Customers demand frequent delivery updates—even when it's bad news: A whopping 98% of survey respondents said they feel better about a company if they’re notified immediately when something goes wrong with their delivery. And the more expensive an order, the more consumers expect frequent updates—84% of shoppers said that more communication is critical for pricier purchases. Bottom line: consumers want to know what’s going on with their online orders, even if it’s bad news, and will reward you with their loyalty.
- Send a text AND and email if it's important: More than 80% of consumers prefer to receive communication from retailers through email, mostly because it’s easier for record-keeping purposes. But for if there’s critical information, such as a postponed delivery date or other delay, text or push notifications are also good ways to go; 38% of survey respondents told us that these are their preferred channels in such cases. In addition, 38% of consumers told us they’re open to receiving updates from retailers in multiple ways.
- (Surprise!) Millennials are more open to texts and push notifications: Of course, communication preferences vary by age group, and our study shows that under-30 millennials are the most fond of text (43%) and push notifications (33%) when it comes to getting information from retailers - once they’ve opted in, of course.
- AI and voice are comin’ on up: You could argue that artificial intelligence has become the buzzword of the year, and with voice and chatbots seemingly taking over the world, it only makes sense that these AI-driven channels would begin to impact the world of retail. We found that 79% of shoppers have used text, messenger apps, or voice devices, and 74% have used live chat. And while just 29% of voice device owners use it to shop currently, 41% of them said they planned to use their device to shop in the future.
- Tech can’t replace the human touch: As much as everyone’s talking about how AI is killing jobs, our findings indicate that the future will require a blend of humans and bots. For simple questions—about an order’s status, for instance—consumers are just fine with bots. Why? Among the top reasons: they’re fast and easy, there’s no need to wait on hold with a bot, and they’re perfect for people with social anxiety. But while consumers prefer to tackle an issue on their own first (which can include using a bot), more complex problems will require a human to handle. 55% of millennials aged 21-29 responded that they preferred to talk to a person to resolve a problem, as did 72% of shoppers aged 60+.
Want to learn even more about the latest consumer communication trends? Be sure to download Narvar’s full report on customer communication to access to our findings and recommendations.
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Heather is Senior Content Marketing Manager at Narvar and has been working in the SF tech world for over 6 years. She has a bachelor's degree from CSU Long Beach and an MFA in writing from California College of the Arts.