The Ireland Edition of the Salesforce State of Connected Customer report contains insights from 650+ consumers and business buyers across Ireland. Discover the trends shaping the future of customer engagement given the recent shift in customer expectations and behaviours due to worldwide economic, social and other challenges. Key insights include: what consumers expect from customer service, how digital customer engagement is evolving, and how consumers feel about the use of their personal information.
This report is curated specifically for the Irish market. It uncovers similarities and differences between Irish customers and global customers, alongside a wider view of the global consumer. Read on to learn how customers balance expectations for personalisation and privacy, alongside customer service.
Discover the trends shaping the future of customer engagement.
Insights from 650 consumers and business buyers in Ireland on the new customer engagement landscape.
Digital Acceleration Sparks Demand for Personalisation at Scale
Consumers value customer service above all else. 89% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its product or services – up from 78% in 2020. A great experience is personalised, seamless, and quick. This goes beyond addressing concerns and issues. Customer service should become ‘customer care’ and, as the name suggests, make the customer feel cared for. Done well, it benefits the company’s bottom line and customer engagement. It can even restore lost trust. Notably, 72% of customers trust companies that act with customers’ best interests in mind.
While personalisation may have once been a differentiating factor, today, it is simply what customers expect. Currently, 38% of Irish customers expect all offers to be personalised—up from 36% in 2020. Customers are navigating new and changing circumstances. Personalisation helps businesses offer understanding at a time when it’s needed more than ever. For example, if a consumer has lost their job, it’s the wrong time to send them an offer for an expensive item.
Personalisation can enhance customer service and trust in a brand and there are interesting findings around the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), with 56% of customers saying they are open to the use of AI to improve experiences. In addition, 60% of Irish consumers are comfortable with companies using relevant personal information in a transparent and beneficial manner.
Expectations of Seamless Support are Often Unmet
Irish customers and global customers have similar views on customer care and personalisation however expectation is not meeting reality. For instance, 81% of Irish customers expect to solve complex problems by speaking to one person; however, over half of customers say interactions with support teams tend to feel fragmented. There are huge advantages in meeting your customer’s expectations, with 97% of Irish customers saying a positive customer service experience makes them more likely to purchase again.
Digital customer engagement hits its moment of truth
Digital channels as a vital part of the customer journey aren’t unique to today’s world. Since 2019, email, phone, online chat, and mobile apps have all ranked among customers’ top 5 favourite channels – alongside in-person engagement. Connected customers also continue to rely on more than one channel, with global customers turning to an average of 9 different channels depending on context to communicate with companies. Millennials are among the most connected customers; they claim to use more channels than other generations.
While some things remain the same, it’s undeniable that the last few years have brought notable changes. In 2020, an estimated 60% of interactions took place online, up from 42% the previous year. In the same year, messenger apps, like WhatsApp, and social media increased in popularity, while texting and video chat edged into customers’ 10 most-preferred channels for the first time. The pandemic also increased many consumers’ expectations of companies’ digital capabilities; true for 68% of global customers here.
Recent circumstances have no doubt affected digital customer engagement. However, this trend is expected to persist into the future; evidenced by consumers’ future shopping plans. 50% of customers who shop via social media expect to do it even more in three years’ time.
As these changes have occurred, the role of artificial intelligence (AI) has also steadily increased. For many, AI has become part of daily life – 52% of customers can think of an example of AI they use every day (up from 46% in 2020). However, signs of unease linger, with a majority saying organisations gather more information than they need. However, to counteract this, 80% say additional transparency increases their trust.
Personal data value exchange is at a turning point
A lack of trust isn’t only prevalent with AI. Consumers also have concerns about the data that powers AI, with 68% of customers concerned about the unethical use of AI, up from 64% in 2020. They also see transparency as lacking, with 62% saying most companies aren’t transparent about data usage.
Customers’ views on sharing personal information have also been affected by recent times. 60% of consumers are comfortable with companies using relevant personal information in a transparent and beneficial manner. This serves as an opportunity for organisations to show the good that can come from sharing personal information. Which could also impact how customers view, manage, and share their data.
Learn more from the State of the Connected Customer: Ireland Edition
Want to explore further? There are many more insights available in the full State of the Connected Customer: Ireland Edition report. Download to learn more on transforming customer expectations and behaviours. Plus, it contains the criteria customers use to evaluate and switch brands.
Here’s a preview of some key insights:
- 91% of customers believe trust becomes more important in times of change.
- 58% of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations.
- 73% of consumers have switched brands at least once in the last year.
- 69% of consumers have purchased products in new ways over the past two years.
Discover the trends shaping the future of customer engagement.
What matters most to today’s customers? Download our State of the Connected Customer: Ireland Edition report to learn.