Should You Treat Customers Like Friends? Meta Marketing Leader Shares His Take on Modern CX Expectations

Episode 2

Vanessa Gates 00:13
Hey everyone, welcome back to Masters of Support. I am your host Vanessa Gates in today I have with me, Mr. Gabe Larsen, who is the Head of Marketing at Kustomer-Meta.

Gabe Larsen 00:24
Hey, appreciate it. Glad to be on excited to talk with you today.

Vanessa Gates 00:29
Yes, so finally Glad to have you here. Talk to me today, we got some wonderful things to talk about. But before we get started, I wanted to go ahead and just start off with kind of, if you could please share with us what do you do at Meta? And, you know, how are you impacting the CX ecosystem right now?

Gabe Larsen 00:47
Yeah, appreciate it. Yeah. So we I run marketing, as you said, over here at Kustomer, now part of a Meta, a company of Meta, been here three years. And my role really consists of trying to establish the marketing organization and the positioning that we have in the market. That this encompasses our brand work, our demand work, and a lot of our customer marketing work. So what we do at Meta is a little different. So you know, we’re not kind of the typical Meta company, if you’re thinking of social media, like Facebook, or Instagram or something like that, we actually are a customer service CRM platform that helps businesses deliver world class service. And we do do a lot with the Meta channels, you know, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp etc. And we believe, you know, great customer service is an absolute must. And so that’s how we kind of fit into the CX ecosystem.

Vanessa Gates 01:50
Tell us real quick kind of how you two came about, you know, there was an acquisition, right?

Gabe Larsen 01:54
Yeah, it’s a fun acquisition, real excited to be part of the Meta family. And, really, I think that combined vision means, you know, we can help more businesses grow faster by developing, delivering highly personalized customer service whenever and however customers want it. So we’re looking forward to really combine our award winning technology with the resources of Meta to give brands that ability, you know, to have better visibility, into their customer experience and more automation, and the tools to quickly adapt to different issues and opportunities. So I think the coming under the umbrella of that is going to be really exciting.

Vanessa Gates 02:35
Love it. So you briefly touched on kind of what we’re going to talk about today. And that is, you know, customer service and how customers want it. I know you did a really cool research recently about the modern age of CX messaging. Want to let’s go ahead and kick off with that, and kind of what our topic is today?

Gabe Larsen 02:53
Absolutely, absolutely. Yes. So, you know, this was an interesting study of it is a global research study to consumer channel preferences, you know, our mission customer, we really wanted to deepen our understanding of consumer channel preferences. When it comes to connecting with businesses, we wanted to understand trends in modern messaging channels, you know, really from the global consumer to better understand how businesses can strengthen those relationships. So we surveyed over 3000 global consumers, really, again, to understand what changes are occurring in the customer experience landscape, and the data shows that the future of customer service is, you know, may be surprising for some, but, you know, messaging modern communication channels, and we’ll dive into this are on the rise, particularly for the younger generations. And so that’s a little bit of a sneak peek into some of the findings. But ultimately, that was it, we’re trying to really figure out and understand how businesses are communicating with consumers and how consumers want to communicate with business from kind of a global standpoint,

Vanessa Gates 04:00
I guess, kick off with the first question of which age group has adopted social messaging as the most prevalent communication standard with their brands?

Gabe Larsen 04:09
Yeah, you know, this is interesting, because there are obviously different types of communication methods out there, I mean, seems like a new one is almost added all the time you have more traditional ones phone and email chat. You’ve got more modern communication channels like Instagram, you know, Facebook, there’s certainly new stuff coming out with more video type technologies. And so the question that we were kind of looking at in general, as I said, was high level how are different people communicating amongst different channels, but the age group stuff was fascinating. And to kind of get to your question, it was, it was a younger demographic, potentially not too surprising, about 18 to 34, that really was jumping into this more modern channels. That younger generation, diving a lot into social lot into law. I’ve chat ally a lot into SMS, which is a lot different than some of the demographics is you potentially go a little bit wider there and you go into someone with maybe, you know, in that age range 40 to 50,60, that channel preference changes a lot. So yeah, social media, big preference, we found in younger generations thinking about 18 to 34.

Vanessa Gates 05:23
So that 18 to 34, that kind of overlaps between like the Gen Z, the millennial age group, which one did Gen Z specifically kind of favor?

Gabe Larsen 05:34
Yeah, you know, it was interesting, the fairly similar, I thought it would be a little bit different. So we did, we broke it out 18 to 24. And it came out that about 26%, you just had a fairly high percentage of that group that said, this is the communication channel we prefer. But interestingly enough, when we looked at 25, to 30, for slightly older demographic, the exact same number, so it actually came out “Even Steven,” if you will, on the preference for 18 to 34, using what I’ll kind of just classify as as “social” as social media, as a higher preferential for kind of contact and customer service.
Vanessa Gates 06:24
I’m curious to know how many of average and you found in these 3000 ish consumers that you surveyed? How many social brands are they following?

Gabe Larsen 06:35
Yeah, this is something that I don’t do very often. So maybe this is something that you and I differ from, from an age demographic there. But ultimately, you know, one of the trends we see is that a lot of Gen Z, or the younger generation is starting to follow brands that they align with from a more vision and mission standpoint. You know, I think many people think of brands is just something that you buy from, and that kind of stops and ends there. But we’re finding that there’s just more engagement more following with with a Gen Z audience with some of these different brands, and so real different on the demographics, but we found that Gen Z typically is following around six brands, and again, the following, you got to double click it, it’s just engaged. It’s something that they agree with, it’s something that there’s more mission that they connect with. And it’s one of the main reasons that they’re buying, etc, from this brand. So you see it through the following aspects. But the buying behaviors are also quite a bit different. Because there’s so much of a connection with some of those brands, which we thought was pretty interesting.

Vanessa Gates 07:53
What percentage of consumers would you did you find out are enjoying communicating with the brands via the same channels they talk to family and friends on?

Gabe Larsen 08:03
One of the more surprising facets of the study, and maybe one of the key points of it. So it basically came out that about 64% of consumers reported they enjoy talking to customer service via the same channels they communicate with family and friends on. But that was one of those that we had to just take a step back on, because I do think it’s a little bit of a wow, comments, you know, and it’s a change, I think, in the way we’re communicating. Again, there’s these traditional channels that we’ve typically used for customer service. But a lot of people are starting to say, hey, if I’m on SMS, if I’m on WhatsApp, these tools that I’m more comfortable with, with, again, friends and family, I want to see that translate into my business interactions. I thought it was a fairly big finding maybe one of the more interesting from the overall study. And I think this will continue to be a trend that we see as consumer communication changes. If this is true, right? We’re looking at the majority of people want to see more communication on channels that they are very easy with. And that does not include phone, right, that doesn’t include maybe email as much again, I’m not saying those go away, but a push towards some of these non traditional channels that were just always on with friends and family. So yeah, over 70% And to me, that was just a very interesting moment. I think that that could mean some differences in communication as we go forward here. Over the next few years, Going back to the comment in the statement of consumers using the same channels to communicate with their family and friends. I’m always on Messenger 24/7 I probably use that more than I do for my own SMS texting. So for me to be able to just kind of go back and forth. It’s just amazing. So I definitely can relate to that those consumers that came back and said they prefer it. Yeah, that’s interesting. Yeah, because obviously you get differing opinions on that. But I, it resonated with me a lot as well, I just, I, I’m already there, I love that comment you kind of made, if I’m already there, it means I want to be there, I need to be there. And so we know channels switching, we know any type of switching can be difficult for consumers. So if I’m there, and I want to be there, why not? Why not start to have businesses? And in an appropriate way. Because I do think, you know, there’s spam issues, there’s, so you do need to be conscientious about the way that you kind of move to these channels, I think is a business, slightly different conversation. But if that’s what consumers want, and that’s where we are, businesses just gotta get in line and jump on the bandwagon. Right. So

Vanessa Gates 10:46
Yeah, for sure. So talking about like consumers, and as I mentioned, contacting customer service, etc. What percentage of consumers think that they should be able to contact customer service on any channel they want?

Gabe Larsen 10:59
Yeah. So the majority, I’ll say that it came out to be about 83% of consumers think they should be able to contact customer service on any channel they want. That’s a lot. Again, you gotta pause. Oh, well, it relates back to the thing we were just talking about, you know, do you only offer a certain number of channels? And if not, you know, you might want to be thinking about that. But there was a couple interesting things. I thought in this as well, you know, 89% of consumers think contacting customer service should be easier and more convenient. You know, I think oftentime support teams, where they’re bogged down with manual and routine tasks, and juggling multiple systems and channels that oftentimes consume agent’s time and effort. And they, they can turn out to be like a longer response time and less resolution times that maybe frustrated customers. This one also, this idea of currently, 50% of consumer customer service agents time is spent searching for information and performing manual tasks. It just doesn’t seem like it’s that sustainable. And so I think this is one of those things, we’ve got to find a way to combine the ease of service, and that multi-channel omnichannel approach, so that we can make it easier for consumers, but also easier for agents on that side as well.

Vanessa Gates 12:23
Sure, and especially in this era that we’re in, we’re doing more with less. That is, that is the model as we go into 2023 and ending 2022. So key takeaways that we should know about this fabulous research that you did?

Gabe Larsen 12:42
Oh, wow, what are some of the key takeaways? That’s a tough one. A lot of different things, we hit on some, I think I would probably go back to that one we spent a little time on, you know, if, if you’re a business and you’re wanting to deliver great customer service, one channel of choice matters, right? So customers want to experience your business on something they want to experience. And then to follow that up, we are seeing a movement towards more modern channels. And I don’t love the way that statement comes off that we’re seeing it. But the way this the the research study kind of came out that the majority of people want to communicate with businesses in the same manner they’re communicating with friends and family. It’s just such a powerful statement, 1: for businesses to start to adopt and move that direction, but 2: about the relationship. I mean, if people are willing to say I want to contact friends and family on these and the relationships they have on those, I think that’s also an opening for relationship with businesses that maybe weren’t there wasn’t there before, because you’re they’re letting you into, again, these channels that mean relationship for them mean closeness, mean personalization. And so I just think there’s a lot of fun aspects to take away from this idea of moving towards those channels. So I think the challenge for businesses is, are you where you need to be? And then are you maximizing the relationship on those channels that I think consumers want? So that’s maybe what I’d leave you with today.

Vanessa Gates 14:23
Thank you, Gabe. I appreciate it so much. Where can our listeners get some more information and maybe possibly download this research?

Gabe Larsen 14:32
Yes. Yeah, by all means, I always love to continue the conversation. You can find me on LinkedIn. I love podcasting. If you want to get another podcast in your belt, you can find us under Customer Service Secrets Podcast, and then this research study we’d love to include in the show notes or something if we can, but you can just find that under It’s kind of our main it’s the main thing there at the moment. So yeah.

Vanessa Gates 14:59
Horses and we will be sure to the link the research in the page on our landing page of this. So we’ll be sure to do that.

Gabe Larsen 15:09
Thanks so much for the invite really fun conversation and a lot of the stuff you guys are doing over there play Vox.

Vanessa Gates 15:15
I appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We’ll be in touch everyone. Thank you for joining us today. It was wonderful. I hope to catch you on our next episode. Everyone, as always be a good human and I’ll see you next time.