The first song to use a “fade in” to hit #1 status was the Beatles’ “Eight Days a Week” in 1965. Like several early Beatles hits, the witty Ringo Starr suggested the song title before a word was written. Paul McCartney and John Lennon ran with the idea all the way to the top of the charts.

Cisco and BT enjoy a similar beneficial partnership. Recently we surveyed 5,000 consumers across ten countries in Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Americas about their changing expectations for customer service.

The digital consumer research, “Chat, tap, talk: Eight key trends to transform your digital customer experience” is enlightening from many perspectives. Here are some highlights:

Messaging mania: For customer service, thumbs are becoming as important as voices. Customers want to talk and type. Due to the increasing popularity of messaging services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, the trend is particularly strong in the Asia-Pacific region. Almost 40% of consumers in China use WeChat for customer service.

Chatbots are coming: Get ready to experiment and learn. A chatbot used to be a pleasant surprise on a website and perhaps even considered a novelty. Now almost half (47%) of consumers surveyed say they expect websites to have a chatbot. Begin experimenting now with quick and simple queries before it’s too late.

Voice is still popular. Consumers need live assistance with context when automated options do not completely meet their expectations. An interesting output of the study is the relative lack of difference between generational groups in the desire for voice support (6% is the largest gap). Regionally, there is upwards of a 20% difference between Asia and Europe in the expectation for voice-enabled websites. Your mission: Focus on deepening your ability to engage with context in your voice channel, while optimizing transactions that you can automate.

It’s time to bring social media into your customer care strategy. Perhaps as important as the fact that consumers want to use social media as a customer care channel (up 25% since 2015) is why. Respondents report that they view social media as the best way to get immediate attention from a company 38% of the time.

Video can transform the customer experience. Early in the video customer care cycle, a theory emerged that seeing the customer care agent may actually be a hindrance. The current study refutes this assertion: More than 60% of consumers stated they would prefer to see the person serving them. YouTube has also become the default search engine for new product information, cited by 42% of respondents.

Security matters, but so does effort. Consumers have been historically frustrated by necessary, but cumbersome authentication. More than 60% of those surveyed say current methods take too long and they’d rather authenticate using emerging technologies like voice biometrics.

Customers want proactive support. Want to know what you and a billionaire have in common? You both have the same amount of time. So anything that saves time is important. Reaching out to customers pre-emptively with reminders and updates is a huge win. Consumers increasingly view the personalization of landing pages and portals as a form of proactivity, with 70% citing it as an emerging expectation.

Chat, tap, and then talk. If your customers are between 16 and 34 and/or live in Asia, be ready to use messaging as the first form of communication with them. If your customers are older, wealthier, and in Europe or the United States, be prepared to talk. In either case, more than 60% of consumers cite the desire to escalate to video interactions with the same agent from either chat or voice.

Your action plan? Review these eight trends against your current contact center capabilities. Make sure you have the right capabilities in place based on the age groups and geography and your customers.

With customers wanting more ways to contact your business, it’s imperative you stay ahead of the game – eight days a week!

Download the research paper, “Chat, tap, talk: Eight key trends to transform your digital customer experience,” to learn more.


Zack Taylor


Cisco Global Collaboration