Customer loyalty is being disrupted as consumers rethink their relationships with companies. Although loyalty today is primarily driven by companies’ ability to resolve customer issues on first contact, it will increasingly be shaped by how effectively customer service represents the company in a broader social context, according to the ‘Future of Customer Loyalty’ report from customer experience expert Talkdesk.
The pandemic’s disruption to the traditional stability of consumer loyalty has created new opportunities for companies to gain or lose loyal customers. For example, 57% of consumers agree that their loyalty has grown with companies that helped their customers during the pandemic.
However, the ensuing supply chain crisis is threatening brand loyalty, as 39% of consumers report being more likely to purchase from alternative companies than those they have traditionally been loyal to.
Resolving consumer needs on first contact is still the primary driver of consumer loyalty today. However, that will likely change as younger consumers, who develop loyalty based on a company’s position on social issues, sustainability, and diversity, compel companies to rethink how customer service represents the organization beyond a support context alone.
Talkdesk Research shows 46% of Gen Z consumers stopped buying from a company in the past year due to the company’s stance on social issues, compared to 35% of consumers overall. Some 53% percent of Gen Z respondents also say they started buying from a company specifically due to the company’s diversity in customer service.
As customer service’s influence grows in building loyalty, the contact center is taking on a new role in driving additional revenue through customer engagement. More than two thirds (67%) of organizations report that their contact center is transforming – or has already been transformed – into a profit center.
“This new year, consider a resolution to revisit how the contact center fits into your organization’s consumer loyalty strategy. The role of the contact center has transcended beyond basic customer support to addressing broader questions of central importance to many,” said David Gardner, vice president of research and insights, Talkdesk. “This means the role of agents will have to evolve to become a central part of customer loyalty and shift to performing more proactive and thoughtful engagement.”
In this new context, the role of agents will be elevated to brand ambassadors who are able to deeply understand and proactively respond to consumer needs. By 2025, 98% of organizations plan to implement some level of proactive customer engagement in the contact center. Strong employee engagement and retention strategies and investments will be key to ensuring the success of these efforts.