- According to a new study from the CMO Council and SAP Hybris, 47% of U.S. and European consumers surveyed said they will abandon a brand if it repeatedly provides “poor, impersonal or frustrating” customer experiences.
- Consumer expectations for customer care are simple: they want easy access to the company and help when they have questions. Just over half (52%) of consumers said that exceptional customer experiences include a fast response time to problems and suggestions, and 47% said a great customer experience includes instant access to knowledgeable sales staff 24/7.
- While millennials said brands are making strides in delivering good customer experiences — especially in the digital channels, Generation Xers and Baby Boomers disagreed, saying brands are not effectively reaching older generations through digital or other channels.
The CMO study delivers both a warning and a reassurance for brands in their quest to meet ever-increasing consumer expectations. While even loyal consumers will leave a brand if they’re not treated well, consumers said they are seeking connection, not perfection and may be forgiving as long as they feel heard and valued.
The survey showcases the difference between what brands think consumers want and what consumers say is important. Brands are scrambling to create an omnichannel presence, personalized experiences and social communities — in other words, to be everything, everywhere. Consumers, however, prefer a well-done approach in several key channels. In the report, they said brands should make it easy to connect through company websites, email and phone, and, when consumers do try to connect, brands should respond promptly and have an expert available to answer questions.
Customers will forgive an occasional misstep, but when it happens repeatedly, nearly half said they will leave. Getting new customers to replace them is costly — by some estimates, five times the cost of retaining customers. Added to that, 20% of loyal customers provide companies with 80% of their revenue, so keeping them, and keeping them happy, is key. To do that, brands must deliver on customer service expectations.
But brands beware: while consumers said accessibility and responsiveness are most important, consumers’ viewpoints can change. Knowing this, brands must pay close and frequent attention to the voice of their customers, and not assume that what worked in the past, or what is trendy, provides the most impact for their specific customers.