Smart Communications Study Uncovers Notable Discrepancy Between Consumers’ Communications Expectations and their Current Experiences

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Sixty-two Percent of Consumers Will Switch Vendors Based on Unsatisfactory Communications, Yet Only 30 Percent of Business Leaders Say Channel Preferences are Regularly Being Considered.

 Smart CommunicationsTM, the leading cloud-based platform for enterprise customer communications, today announced the results of its 2019 Customer Communications Benchmark survey aimed at uncovering consumer and business leader opinions about the current state of communications delivered by financial services, insurance, and healthcare companies. Key among the findings is that 62 percent of consumers are likely to leave their current vendor for a competitor if the communications experience they are receiving is unsatisfactory. Among the elements deemed important to a positive communication experience was relevancy, being error-free, and consideration of preferred methods of communication. Despite consumer desires, only 30 percent of business leaders said they are distributing communications based on preferred channel preference at least 80 percent of the time.

“Our study found some troubling discrepancies between consumer demands and the communications many enterprises are currently delivering,” said James Brown, CEO of Smart Communications. “The good news, however, is that both groups strongly agreed that making customers feel valued has the greatest impact on the overall customer experience. As businesses make additional strides in their digital transformation efforts and invest in more modern customer communications management platforms, we believe these gaps will close.”

When it comes to the current quality of communications, only about half of the consumers said enterprises are delivering communications that are excellent or very good (54 percent for financial services firms, 48 percent for insurance companies and 50 percent for the healthcare industry). Additionally, most consumers feel this quality is staying the same, rather than getting better or worse. The study identified an interesting gap in the insurance industry, in which 56 percent of business leaders say their efforts are improving, while only 26 percent of consumers agree.

“Businesses in highly regulated industries can feel more challenged than others when it comes to addressing consumers’ needs for more meaningful conversations,” added Brown.  “While we know that companies in these sectors are making tremendous strides, our results indicate that there is still much room for improvement before consumers feel their experiences are exceptional. As these companies move farther down their paths to digital transformation, consumers will start to feel even more valued through the delivery of communications that are highly relevant and personalized.” 

Highlighting both this progress and need for further improvement, the study found that 42 percent of business leaders in financial services, insurance, and healthcare industries rated their company’s digital transformation efforts as very good or excellent. Perhaps the clearest evidence of this can be found in the discrepancies between consumer channel preferences and current delivery methods. While consumers in the US and UK state that email is their preferred channel for communications, two-thirds of business leaders indicated that less than 40 percent of their communications are being distributed via that channel.

“Honoring channel preferences is one of the most important things businesses can do to demonstrate they value their customers, and when they get this right not only will customer satisfaction and loyalty increase but they will be able to develop even deeper insights into their customer base as we found that 59 percent of consumers are willing to share more personal information with companies if their data is used to make communications more meaningful,” Brown concluded.  “It’s a win-win.”

The complete study, “Are Customer Communications Getting SMARTer?” can be downloaded here.

Survey Methodology:

To investigate opinions and requirements, as well as identify which elements of communications are important and which have an impact on the choice of provider, Smart Communications commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct research among consumers in the UK and US about communications in the following sectors: banks and other financial companies, insurance, healthcare. In April and May 2019, Smart Communications targeted over 1,000 nationally representative (on age and gender) surveys in both the UK and the US. During the same period, Smart Communications also targeted over 500 surveys of business leaders across the UK and the US. All respondents needed to be a customer or business leader of at least one of the three sectors.

About Smart Communications

Smart Communications™ is the leading cloud-based platform for enterprise customer communications. As the only cloud solution ranked as a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Customer Communications Management, more than 350 global brands – many in the world’s most highly regulated industries – rely on Smart Communications to make multi-channel customer communications more meaningful, while also helping them simplify their processes and operate more efficiently. This is what it means to scale the conversation. Smart Communications is headquartered in London and New York and serves its customers from offices located across North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific. The company offers a range of solutions including SmartCOMMTM, SmartCOMMTM for Salesforce, and SmartDXTM. To learn more, visitsmartcommunications.com.

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