Customers want fast service or support from knowledgeable people where, when and how they prefer to receive it, based on results of a study the CMO Council published Tuesday.
Together with SAP Hybris, the CMO Council last year conducted an online survey of 2,000 respondents, equally divided between men and women. Fifty percent were in the United States, and 25 percent each resided in Canada and Europe.
Among the findings:
- 52 percent mentioned fast response time as a key attribute of an exceptional customer experience;
- 47 percent said knowledgeable staff, ready to assist whenever and wherever needed, was key;
- 38 percent wanted an actual person to speak with at any time and place;
- 38 percent wanted information when and where they needed it;
- 9 percent wanted brand-developed social communities; and
- 8 percent wanted always-on automated services.
Consumers have a shortlist of critical channels they expect to have access to, the survey found, including the company’s website, email, a phone number, and a knowledgeable person to speak with.
“The mindsets of consumers — whether B2B or B2C — are shifting, said Liz Miller, SVP of marketing at the CMO Council.
Marketers “have to start asking, ‘Are we set up to be a responsive organization that looks at data, looks at analytics, understands what’s coming in through CRM and is able to reflect that back through all touchpoints, including physical ones, quickly? Or are we simply waiting to react?'” she told CRM Buyer.
Serve Us Well or Die!
Angry customers hurt brands. The survey identified the following behaviors:
- 47 percent of respondents said they would stop doing business with a brand if they were continually frustrated;
- 33 percent were annoyed because of slow service or dealing with reps who knew nothing about their past history or purchases;
- 32 percent said they would email a company to complain; and
- 29 percent said they would tell their family and friends about their bad experience.
That’s a possibility that Warrantech, which provides extended service plans and warranties nationwide, is well aware of.
The company on Tuesday announced a partnership with mobile workforce management ServicePower, which will let it instantly connect customers who have service needs with available repair technicians.
“Prompt response time is critical in our line of business,” said Brian Weaver, director of service operations at Warrantech.
The teamup is expected to reduce overall customer turnover time by up to 10 percent across all verticals and “ultimately translate into commensurate lifts in clients’ sales and customer retention,” he told CRM Buyer.
The Customer Wish Conundrum
One problem marketers face is that customers appear to have conflicting desires, as shown by the survey results:
- 36 percent of respondents were angry about not being recognized for their loyalty;
- 12 percent wanted companies to recognize their history with the brand at any touchpoint;
- 10 percent wanted multiple touchpoints; and
- 23 percent felt they were being followed online.
That poses a conundrum for marketers.
“This survey did indicate the respondents wanted knowledgeable staff — and for that, I’d argue part of the knowledge is knowing about the customer, not just the product, so that the advice can directly address the customer’s unique problem,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.
“Knowing about the customer improves the quality of the engagement,” he told CRM Buyer.
That said, consumers don’t care how companies do what they do — they only care about the results, the CMO Council’s Miller noted.
“It’s a sausage factory. Consumers don’t care how you make them, they just want tasty sausage. At the end of the day, consumers want to be treated like persons,” she said.
“Each firm needs to survey their own customers, assess the impact and costs of changes, then formulate a strategy that applies uniquely to them,” Enderle suggested. “Some may find that the cost/benefit ratio is still better with automation.”