Survey: COVID-19 drives demand for better customer experience

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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As consumers increase their digital interactions with businesses, they want more personalized and flexible services.

A new survey of 3,000 North American consumers from financial technology company Broadridge Financial Solutions reveals that while 70% of respondents have taken a step toward greater digital interaction with at least one business, nearly 60% believe companies need to improve their customer experience. This sentiment is expressed by seven in 10 millennial respondents (71%). 
More than half (56%) of respondents believe the pandemic has fundamentally changed how they communicate and engage with businesses, with 54% seeing an increase in “humanity” in the communications they have received from businesses. However, despite a large number of respondents engaging in a variety of digital business interactions for the first time during 2020, only 54% of them rated their experience as “excellent.”

Examining digital-first experiences of respondents, the survey found one-third (32%) of respondents made an online bill payment and more than one in five (22%) created an online account for the first time. Nearly one in five respondents (18%) went paperless with at least one company for the first time, while 19% of respondents overall – and 27% of millennials – initially used the chat feature on a company's website, portal or app. 
The survey also shows there was an uptick in consumers using providers' mobile options. Since the pandemic began, nearly half (49%) of consumers' usage of mobile apps from companies increased, including the app usage rates of 32% of boomers. 
Consumers also became more receptive to mobile payments, with about two-thirds (65%) of respondents saying they would use a mobile app to make a bill payment. Sixty-four percent consumers are interested in receiving short informational videos personalized to the services they receive. Almost six in 10 (58%) would like companies to deliver bills, statements, and other important documents directly into their preferred cloud storage location.
Despite these digital firsts, when it comes to favorite channels for receiving communications, half of respondents still prefer physical mail most. Of those, three-quarters (76%) say they will still want to receive print communications in three years. 
Regardless of delivery preferences, consumers expect a seamless omnichannel experience. An overwhelming majority (84%) of respondents expect companies to make it easy for them to interact across print, digital and other channels. 
Survey results also illustrate the potential dangers of not meeting customer expectations for digital personalization. More than four in 10 respondents (43%) have stopped doing business with a company just because it did a poor job of personalizing the experience. Millennials (59%) and Gen X (51%) were most likely to change providers, compared to only 28% of boomers.