Customer Experience is a key ingredient for brand success, says a Verizon study.
A good Customer Experience helps to set brands apart, giving them the potential to secure greater share in an increasingly ultra-competitive market. However, Customer Experience is not a one-way relationship and consumers increasingly know this too. It’s crucial for brands to know what customers want from customer service. Brands can no longer just be transactional entities. To truly make an impact, a company must be a constant presence in its customers daily lives.
A Verizon-sponsored survey of 6,000 consumers across 15 countries, including India, conducted by Longitude, drills down into the fundamentals of Customer Experience relationship and reveals that while simplicity and trust are key for a good Customer Experience, globally, consumers really want to interact with brands.
“The customer is king when it comes to a brand being successful,” comments Gordon Littley, Managing Director of Verizon’s Global CX Practice.
“Today, Customer Experience technology has the power to secure, enhance and stimulate a brand’s relationship with a consumer – but it should not define, nor limit them. Often the promises made by new Customer Experience technologies are prioritized ahead of individual customer preferences and desires – this shouldn’t be the case.”
“We must remember that every customer is an individual and wants to be treated that way. Technology innovation can help brands stand out, but customer service basics remain vital –the best relationships will be built on mutual trust and simplicity,” she adds.
Personalization and convenience are front line battlegrounds. Consumers are increasingly savvy when it comes to the type of service they expect. They want an efficient, bespoke experience, which mirrors the way they usually communicate, including with the use of emerging technologies.
- 63 percent of those surveyed did not care about the channel they used with businesses, as long as they got through quickly and easily — 35 percent flagged that they would actually leave a company with slow apps, with 59 percent saying they often abandon online transactions that take too long. More importantly, 41 percent would actually leave a company that can’t meet their request at the first time of asking.
- However, 47 percent surveyed would go back to a company offering a personalized, intuitive Customer Experience, even if a rival was cheaper; and if they had to sign up to a new brand,37 percent were more likely to do so if an existing online profile could be used for convenience.
Innovation helps brands stand out but customer service basics remain vital. Consumers want the option of using new technologies.
- 42 percent are open to companies finding new ways of communicating with them, such as via wearable devices or voice-activated personal assistants.
- 55 percent of 18-24 year olds surveyed were attracted to companies that deliver Customer Experience using the latest digital technologies, compared to 47 percent of 25-65 year olds surveyed.
- 60 percent also wished to be able to switch between communication channels easily; similarly, 60 percent said a good mobile app would improve their perception of a brand.
However sometimes they just want to talk to a person…
- 34 percent would switch if they were unable to speak to a real person; 21 percent would do the same if they couldn’t locate a customer service telephone number.
- 54 percent of those surveyed listed live telephone conversations as a preferred communication channel. This was stressed across all age ranges – 38 percent of 18-24 year olds surveyed agreed, rising to 46 percent of 25-34 year olds.
Data is a powerful CX weapon, but it must be used ethically, and for the benefit of the customer. Consumers understand that in order to get the experiences they want they need to share some of their data. But they want rewards in return!
- 69 percent surveyed felt that companies ask for data for the brand’s own gain, rather than to improve CX (62 percent surveyed in APAC; 71 percent in US and 74 percent in Europe).
- 67 percent surveyed cited discounts and promotions as being among the top three pay-backs they would expect in return for their data, followed by 40 percent flagging one-click log-in and transaction tools, and 39 percent desiring more exclusive experiences.
- 45 percent of 18-24 year olds surveyed would be prepared to share their data if they get a more intuitive and personalized user experience as a result. In fact, 31 percent would let a retailer access their social media accounts to generate product and service recommendations; 39 percent surveyed would let a restaurant or retailer track their location to offer them better deals when they’re nearby; and 28 percent didn’t mind being tracked by fitness apps to receive fitness advice in return.
Building trust is critical to outflank rivals. Consumers may desire convenience and personalization, but they will not give up security and privacy to get it.
- 32 percent of those surveyed saw the clear communication of benefits offered in return for data as crucial for winning trust.
- Even though convenience is seen as a major benefit in Customer Experience, 62 percent surveyed said they rarely saved their banking details when dealing with a company online,even though it would speed up their return visit.
- 63 percent complained that managing passwords is increasingly complex; this could be seen as an opportunity to those businesses able to offer a trusted, rapid, intuitive security processes.
Data security and privacy are table stakes. Secured, trust must be maintained—if a company suffers a security breach, it will inevitably lose customers.
- 61 percent said their awareness of data-privacy issues has increased in the past year.
- 69 percent flagged “honesty and transparency” on how personal data would be used as crucial in building trust, and a further 42 percent stressed the need to communicate clearly regarding data regulation compliance, with 39 percent turning to a competitor if a company did not adhere to their data and privacy settings and preferences.
- 69 percent would avoid a company that had suffered a data breach, even if it offered a better deal than competitors.
More than half (52 percent) of the consumers surveyed said if they were personally affected by a data breach, they would avoid the company that had compromised their information for four to six months; almost a third (29 percent) said they would never use the brand again. Even customers whose information had not been breached would boycott the company—almost 20% said they would leave for good.
Some India specific numbers
- Indian consumers are the least skeptical in the world about how companies use their data
- Indian consumers take a harsh stance on companies which suffer breaches
- India is the only country in APAC which does not rate discounts as the main benefit it wants in return for sharing data. Instead, Indian consumers prioritize a more intuitive, personalized user experience
- Indian consumers are the most open across the APAC region to being interacted with in different ways
- India is the most enthusiastic on CX. It is also most punishing to companies which misuse its data and suffer a breach, which is essential to bear in mind when operating in the country
Littley comments, “You’ve got to completely respect the consumer’s privacy first and foremost. Unless they’ve opted in, you use nothing. You can’t betray their trust in you for keeping their data safe –do that and you destroy your brand.”
By improving tried and trusted Customer Experience channels, embracing digital technologies and rewarding loyal consumers,businesses have an opportunity to expand their market share and obtain financial growth. Ensuring this genuine value-exchange between a business and its consumers is essential, and transparency, trust and security are key.