The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council’s latest research report, “The Customer in Context,” finds that nearly half of North American and European consumers will abandon a brand and take their money elsewhere if they repeatedly encounter “a poor, impersonal or frustrating customer experience across channels of engagement.”
The study, undertaken with SAP Hybris, shows consumers have a shortlist of basic expectations from companies in terms of customer service, including a company website, an email address, a phone number to call, and a knowledgeable sales person to speak with.
“Today, the differentiator isn’t if we are able to individualize an experience, but rather do we have the insight and intelligence to know where, when and how a customer expects to be greeted with value and relevance,” said Liz Miller, SVP Marketing CMO Council. “Yes, consumers don’t need personalization at every moment. But what this research amplifies is the requirement to get relevant, personalized experiences right for an audience of one in their micro-moment of need.”
Consumers in the study outlined key aspects of meeting their micro-moment of need as fast response times to needs, suggestions or issues (52 percent), and knowledgeable staff ready to assist wherever and whenever needed (47 percent).
Following those, always-on assisted service (8 percent), brand-developed social communities to connect consumers with other fans (9 percent) and having access to multiple touch points as part of the customer journey.
Major frustrations with brands include price increases on products without apparent added value or improvements to the products in question, and not being treated like a loyal customer (36 percent).
The price brands pay for frustrating consumers is high—47 percent say they will stop doing business altogether, while 32 percent would email the company to complain and 29 percent would tell their family and friends.
The better news: one in four consumers feel brands are delivering personalized and relevant engagements across critical touch points despite room for improvement, with 38 percent saying brands are almost there and 22 percent saying brands are delivering, but only in digital channels.
Additional key findings:
· 70 percent of consumers are willing to share some degree of their personal data with brands. 22 percent say they will only share data if it is being used to deliver more relevant and better offers.
· Consumers are willing to share data in exchange for value. Value is clearly defined as something that saves money (77 percent), saves time (49 percent) or makes life easier (47 percent).
· While men admit they prefer mostly digital experiences (61 percent), women (59 percent admit that no channel really meets all of their needs). Perhaps this is why the top frustration for women ties back to the disconnect in physical and digital experiences as they are most irked by buying something online and not being able to return it in store (56 percent). Men, on the other hand, are most frustrated by constantly feeling the brands they do business with know nothing about them.
“Every customer takes a different path to their purchase, and our responsibility as brand leaders is to ensure that we are at the ready to greet them, not as strangers, but with the empathy, value and context they have earned as our customer,” said Jamie Anderson, CMO SAP Hybris.
“What this research proves is that we risk our own business success if we continue to leave our customer’s voice out of our experience strategies. We fail to deliver value, we fail to close that deal because our customer has left to do business with a competitor that has taken the time to respond, react and deliver relevance regardless of channel or location.”
Ultimately, putting the customer in context reveals that millennial respondents were more likely to acknowledge brands were delivering relevance (in digital channels), while Gen X respondents found brands struggling to deliver and Boomers felt brands had a long way to go.