A survey by digital workflow company ServiceNow found that retailers in Canada are struggling to retain loyal consumers.

Of the 1000 consumers surveyed, nearly all Canadians (92%) require quick, real-time support, and more than half (53%) want 24/7 customer service by 2025 to improve brand loyalty.

Despite immediacy and availability being a top priority, Canadian consumers today are facing prolonged customer service calls with nearly half (46%) saying they are on the line for at least 30 minutes or more.

ServiceNow highlights the potential for AI to play a critical role in improving service delivery, addressing customer frustrations over prolonged call times, and meeting the demand for always-on customer service.

When looking to solve a complex issue or troubleshoot, 61% of Canadians will prioritise turning to customer service agents, whether by phone, chat, or in-person. However, 44% would choose to use AI-powered services such as a chatbot or intelligent search engine.

Having a good chatbot service is deemed important by more than half (55%) of Canadians, with this number increasing to 70% for those ages 18-34. Some (7%) even prefer to use chatbots for all their customer service needs.

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Nearly half (49%) would never want to see fully autonomous, AI-driven customer service. Additionally, 36% of Canadians hold back from engaging with AI for customer service because they do not like the lack of personalisation, further underscoring the need for a balanced approach.

Additionally, most Canadians (72%) want a company to offer self-service options. Consumers especially want to self-serve when looking for general information, preferring self-help guides (34%) or an intelligent search engine (35%).

In spite of these issues, Canadians still have the best customer service experience with retail companies (35%) compared to other industries.

A recent poll of Canadian retail investors found that a large majority are concerned about AI and want to see risk mitigation embedded in their portfolios.