Just 9% of cynical Brits expect to be wowed by customer service


Freshworks Inc., a leading software company empowering businesses to delight their customers and employees, today unveiled survey findings that reveal the complexity and contradiction of consumer expectations. With just 9% of the 2,000 UK consumers surveyed (part of a broader study of 11,500 global consumers) expecting to be wowed by brands today, the  findings underscore a major opportunity for companies to exceed expectations in delighting their customers. A majority (70%) of consumers are willing to exchange information for a more personalised, faster and values-driven experience.


Low customer expectations offer a big business opportunity 

Brits revealed surprisingly low expectations for the quality of their customer experiences with companies – confirming that many legacy systems used for customer engagement are broken and ripe for a fresh approach.

  • Companies have set a low bar. Just 9% of consumers expect to be wowed by a company, and only 10% expect personalisation – both lower than the global average (14%)
  • Don’t believe the hype. Sixty-two percent of consumers said a brand’s customer service often does not match the image they portray.


Consumers expect brands to understand their personal values

Two-fifths (39%) of Brits admitted the pandemic had changed their expectations of how brands should communicate with them. With social justice and sustainability discussions dominating global news, people increasingly are identifying with brands based on causes they care about. Over half (55%) of consumers expect brands to consider their personal values when communicating and will exchange personal information for a better experience.

  • Get real. Seventy-seven percent of Brits want more honesty from brands and nearly two-thirds (61%) seek more empathy.
  • Exchange for experience.UK consumers are slightly more private than their global counterparts, with 70% (compared to a global average of 77%) willing to share their personal data in exchange for a better experience, including browsing/purchasing data (26%), relationship history (15%), values they care about (15%), and salary (6%).

John Crossan, Vice President & General Manager, Europe, Freshworks said, “Our research paints a complex picture of what customers expect. The importance of authenticity and values in customer services isn’t anything new but it has taken a big leap forward since the pandemic as people have had more time to reflect on what is important to them. But people also want to build closer, more personal relationships with the brands they’re dealing with, giving businesses a huge opportunity to delight their customers. Companies shouldn’t separate their product from the customer experience; instead, they should look for opportunities to bring back the wow factor through thoughtful, easy and speedy interactions that reflect customer values.”


Complex customer needs require different channels

Consumer attitudes toward engaging with companies are complicated and seemingly paradoxical at times. While most seek the human touch, many consumers would rather work with automated technologies. Companies must offer a range of communications channels to meet differing and ever-changing consumer preferences.

  • Consumers don’t always add up. While 67% of UK consumers would rather speak with a person than use self-service technologies, 30% would rather go the self-service route than have to speak to a company using any other channel.
  • Call me maybe. Over a third (37%) don’t enjoy communicating with companies at all, higher than the global average of 26%, while 33% want to hear more from them.
  • The demise of email has been greatly exaggerated. Email ranked highest for making a complaint (38%), tracking an order (29%), getting a refund/exchange (29%) providing feedback (26%) and seeking product information/support (25%).

Jo Causon, CEO of The Institute of Customer Service said, “For businesses looking to develop deeper, more personal connections with their customers, they should take consumer values into consideration in their approach to communication. Our own research supports these findings from Freshworks, with many customers now paying much closer attention to brands’ ethics and approach to sustainability. The proportion of customers willing to pay more for better service is increasing, and there is a strong link between a better customer experience, greater customer loyalty and long-term business performance.”

Download the report titled, “Deconstructing Delight: Understanding the Complexity of Consumer Expectations” here.