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How important is customer experience? Fully 84% of customers say the experience is just as important as the product or service you sell, Salesforce's 2019 State of the Connected Customer research found.

Yet, today's online consumer frequently confronts a host of frustrations when attempting to interact and engage with businesses online, according to Drift's 2019 State of Conversational Marketing study.

They can't get answers to simple questions (34% of those surveyed by Drift said so), sites are hard to navigate (30%), search options on the site aren't useful (21%), and more:

Accordingly, people still rely heavily on email for communication: 33% of respondents told Drift they use email more than in the past; 22% said they use it less.

Consumers are also more open to using newer technologies for engaging with companies online: Only 14% would prefer filling out an online form over chatting with a chatbot, Drift found. And their expectations of chatbots are pretty high:

Moreover, consumers expect quicker responses from online chat and chatbots vs. from forms they fill out:

Those findings are a sign of the rise of conversational marketing—a category now recognized by Gartner and software review site G2.

"Instead of forcing people to go through lead capture forms and wait days for a response, conversational marketing uses targeted messaging and intelligent chatbots to engage with people when they're on your website," according to Drift. "Making it easier for people to engage with your business will help you convert more of the right leads faster."

Despite the perception that older generations are loath to accept new technology, Baby Boomers expect more from chatbots than Millennials do in 4 of the 9 benefit categories outlined in the 2019 State of Conversational Marketing report:

  1. Answers to simple questions (54% of Baby Boomers vs. 46% of Millennials)
  2. Complaints resolved quickly (40% of Baby Boomers vs. 34% of Millennials)
  3. Detailed / expert answers (29% of Baby Boomers vs. 27% of Millennials)
  4. Easy communication (40.9% of Baby Boomers vs. 40.6% of Millennials)

Check out more findings from the 2019 State of Conversational Marketing study.

About the research: Drift and SurveyMonkey fielded the study on April 29, 2019 with 1,085 adult consumers in the United States. The sample was balanced by age and gender according to the US Census. Responses were collected using SurveyMonkey Audience, a global market research panel, and are representative of the adult online population.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Vahe Habeshian

Vahe Habeshian is the director of publications at MarketingProfs and a longtime editor. Reach him via vahe@marketingprofs.com.

LinkedIn: Vahe Habeshian

Twitter: @habesh