Description

This report provides comprehensive and current information and analysis of the evolution of the customer service experience market including evolution of the customer service experience market size, anticipated market forecast, relevant market segmentation, and industry trends for the evolution of the customer service experience market in the US.

Current market landscape

Two thirds of adults think that good customer service is a rarity these days. This suggests a generally poor perception of customer service overall. However, among adults who have interacted with a retailer or brand’s employees, satisfaction rates are actually very high, which bodes well for retail and highlights the opportunities that exist to elevate the customer/employee interaction and experience and the importance this plays in the overall shopping experience.

Retailers are currently grappling with a number of issues that impact their service offerings, including staffing shortages and supply chain issues that can prompt higher levels of inquiries. Less staff and more inquiries reflect a quandary that will continue to impact retailers into at least 2023. Inflation is also causing headaches for both shoppers and retailers. Even if prices are high, retailers can still shine by leveraging their customer service strengths and showing consumers that they genuinely care about them and their needs.

Market share and key industry trends

  • A majority of Gen Z (54%) and Millennials (63%) are open to brands contacting them with suggestions of items they might like based on their purchasing habits, reinforcing that the customer service model is shifting and will continue to shift to become much more individualized and personal.
  • Nearly nine in 10 (86%) of those surveyed are satisfied with their prior engagements with company salespeople or customer service teams, signifying that one bad experience isn’t enough to taint consumers’ impressions of customer service in general. This is a positive metric, given labor force challenges of late that have greatly impacted the retail industry.

Future market trends in evolution of the customer service experience

One of the biggest threats for retailers when it comes to customer service is related to labor force shifts. Due in large part to the pandemic, workers’ demands have increased and companies must keep up by re-evaluating their wages and benefits packages. Keeping their employees safe and satisfied will ultimately help to keep customers satisfied as well.

One of the biggest opportunities in the market is to look for ways to make the shopping experience more personalized. Savvy retailers are already embracing the value of clienteling and investing appropriately in infrastructure, recruitment and training to empower employees to drive future customer engagements and drum up additional purchase opportunities.

Read on to discover more about the evolution of the customer service experience consumer market, read our US Direct-to-Consumer Retailing Market Report 2022, or take a look at our other Retail research reports.

Quickly understand

  • Categories that see higher or lower rates of customer service inquiries.
  • Circumstances that prompt consumers to seek employee help.
  • How consumers prefer to communicate with brands’ employees.
  • Factors that drive high customer service satisfaction.
  • Technology and services consumers use/are interested in to interact with employees.
  • How customer service models are changing to offer more on-demand and personalized attention.

Covered in this evolution of the customer service experience market report

Brands include: Bank of America, Capital One, Discover, Vans, The North Face, Nike, Adidas, Levi’s, Great Jones, Urban Outfitters, Apple, PetSmart, America’s Tire, Anthropologie, Terrain, Free People, BHLDN, WhatsApp, Twitter, Lululemon, Helpshift, Walmart, L’Oréal, Neiman Marcus, Ulta Beauty, Hero, Levi’s.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Diana Smith, a leading analyst in the Retail and eCommerce sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis of evolution of customer service experience market research to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Two in three consumers think good customer service is rare, which means retailers can really stand out by elevating their service offerings, even if in small increments. The biggest opportunities are to improve digital customer service offerings and to turn the tide from reactive to proactive, whereby sales associates initiate the dialogue with customers, based on a finite understanding of shopping tastes and habits that will be possible from employees having access to big data.”
Diana Smith, Associate Director, Retail & eCommerce
Diana Smith
Associate Director, Retail and eCommerce

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • This Report looks at the following areas
        • Definition
          • Market context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top takeaways
                • Market overview
                  • Figure 1: Outlook for customer service in retail, 2022-27
                • Opportunities and challenges
                  • Labor force shifts cause retailers to reevaluate employee welfare approaches
                    • Define what customer service is and set goals
                      • Empower employees so they can be proactive
                        • Earn customer trust
                          • Make the shopping process more personal
                            • Change perceptions about digital customer service options
                              • Key consumer insights
                              • Market Factors

                                • Consumers have a lot on their minds
                                  • Figure 2: Current consumer concerns, 2022
                                  • Figure 3: Consumer Sentiment Index, 2020-22
                                  • Figure 4: Consumer Price Index, change from previous year, 2020-22
                                • Labor market is shifting
                                  • Figure 5: Labor Force Participation and Unemployment Rate, 2019-22
                                • Brand values could impact customers’ willingness to engage
                                • Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

                                  • Learning from the financial industry
                                    • Figure 6: Bank of America security meter email, 2021
                                    • Figure 7: Bank of America Life Plan, 2022
                                    • Figure 8: Capital one café, 2022
                                    • Figure 9: Discover promotes J.D. Power customer satisfaction top rank in its email communications, 2022
                                  • DTC brands are customer-centric by definition, and consumers credit them for it
                                    • Figure 10: Attitudes toward DTC brands, 2022
                                    • Figure 11: Great Jones Potline offers real-time cooking advice
                                  • Invest in employees
                                    • Evolve processes to better serve customers online
                                      • Testing hybrid service models
                                        • Fostering direct communication via messaging apps
                                          • Monitoring social media
                                            • Figure 12: Lululemon responds to both positive and negative customer comments on social media
                                          • Preparing for the metaverse
                                            • Figure 13: Metashift by Helpshift enables mobile game makers to support users in the virtual world
                                          • Consider how loyalty programs fit into the bigger picture
                                            • Figure 14: Walmart adds Walmart Rewards to its Walmart+ membership program
                                          • In consumers’ words
                                          • The Consumer – Fast Facts

                                            • Customer Assistance Usage by Category

                                              • High involvement categories most likely to entail employee assistance
                                                • Figure 15: Customer assistance usage, by category, 2022
                                              • On-demand support can aid frictionless shopping
                                                • Figure 16: Customer assistance usage by category, by gender and generation, 2022
                                              • In consumers’ words
                                                • Brand examples
                                                  • Figure 17: Butterball Turkey helps TikTok users prepare their meals
                                                  • Figure 18: L’Oréal Paris USA promotes its Haircolor Concierge service
                                              • Reasons for Using Customer Assistance

                                                • Problems drive the need for employee engagement
                                                    • Figure 19: Reasons for using customer assistance, 2022
                                                  • Reasons for seeking out assistance varies by category
                                                      • Figure 20: Customer assistance usage by category, by Reasons for using customer assistance, 2022
                                                    • Men appreciate help when buying gifts for others
                                                      • Figure 21: Select reasons for using customer assistance, by gender, 2022
                                                    • Older customers will proactively seek help
                                                      • Figure 22: Reasons for using customer assistance, by generation, 2022
                                                    • In consumers’ words
                                                      • Let me come to you
                                                        • There are limits
                                                        • Satisfaction with Customer Assistance

                                                          • Extremely high satisfaction levels bode well for retail
                                                              • Figure 23: Satisfaction level with customer assistance, 2022
                                                              • Figure 24: Customer assistance usage by category, by satisfaction level with customer assistance, 2022
                                                              • Figure 25: Satisfaction level with customer assistance, by gender and age, 2022
                                                            • The employee is the experience
                                                              • Figure 26: Reasons for satisfaction, 2022
                                                            • Older generations value human interaction; younger consumers want help on demand
                                                              • Figure 27: Reasons for satisfaction, by generation, 2022
                                                            • Women like a personal touch
                                                              • Figure 28: Reasons for satisfaction, by gender, 2022
                                                            • Parents look for simplicity and time-saving measures
                                                              • Figure 29: Reasons for satisfaction, by parental status, 2022
                                                            • In consumers’ words
                                                              • Delays in getting help and not being solution-oriented drive dissatisfaction rates
                                                                • In consumers’ words
                                                                • Preferred Communication Methods for Assistance

                                                                  • Traditional forms of communication preferred; in-person strongly valued
                                                                    • Figure 30: Preferred communication methods for assistance, 2022
                                                                    • Figure 31: Reasons for using customer assistance, by preferred method of interacting with companies, 2022
                                                                  • Age and gender also influence method
                                                                    • Figure 32: Preferred method of interacting with companies, by gender and age, 2022
                                                                  • Multicultural consumers open to text messaging and communicating via social
                                                                    • Figure 33: Preferred method of interacting with companies, by race and Hispanic origin, 2022
                                                                • Role of Technology in Customer Service

                                                                  • Consumers and retailers alike are embracing tech to assist in customer service-related conversations
                                                                    • Figure 34: Usage and interest in tech/services when interacting with customer service, 2022
                                                                  • Future of customer service is digital and Gen Z and Millennials will lead this movement
                                                                    • Figure 35: Interest in tech/services when interacting with customer service, by generation, 2022
                                                                  • Men want to engage in the virtual world
                                                                    • Figure 36: Interest in tech/services when interacting with customer service, by gender, 2022
                                                                  • Brands invest in tools and tech
                                                                    • Figure 37: Neiman Marcus offers virtual consultations
                                                                    • Figure 38: Ulta Beauty teams up with Haut.AI to provide next-gen skincare tools
                                                                    • Figure 39: Employee at Ted Baker uses Hero to create shoppable video
                                                                    • Figure 40: Reformation customers can use digital screens to personalize their dressing room
                                                                • Attitudes and Behaviors Related to Customer Service

                                                                  • Good customer service should be the norm, not the exception
                                                                    • Figure 41: Attitudes toward customer service in general, 2022
                                                                    • Figure 42: Attitudes toward customer service in general – Any agreement, by generation, 2022
                                                                  • Mutual respect and trust are key to building relationships
                                                                      • Figure 43: Attitudes/behavior related to trust, 2022
                                                                      • Figure 44: Attitudes/behavior related to trust, by generation, 2022
                                                                    • Trust related to privacy – in consumers’ words
                                                                      • Customers look out for each other by sharing experiences
                                                                          • Figure 45: Tendency to share customer service experiences, 2022
                                                                          • Figure 46: Tendency to share customer service experiences, by generation, 2022
                                                                        • In consumers’ words
                                                                          • Millennials very open to personalized and proactive communications from retailers
                                                                            • Figure 47: Attitudes toward personalization, 2022
                                                                            • Figure 48: Attitudes toward personalization, by generation, 2022
                                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                          • Data sources
                                                                            • Consumer survey data
                                                                              • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                • Marketing creative
                                                                                  • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                    • Abbreviations
                                                                                      • Terms
                                                                                      • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                                          • Figure 49: Attitudes and behaviors related to customer service, by gender, 2022

                                                                                      About the report

                                                                                      This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.

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                                                                                      Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.

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