Posted by Bethany Frank on 14 Dec 2016
The "digital age" is quickly changing how consumers and businesses interact with each other. With competition at an all-time high, modern connected consumers have no shortage of options for just about anything. Earning their loyalty is no longer only about delivering a high-quality product or service, but also providing a seamless, intuitive, and omni-channel customer experience. In the State of the Connected Consumer report, Salesforce Research takes a look at connected consumers, their evolving preferences, and their expectations for a smarter customer experience.
Technology gives consumers more control than ever before – over 60% of consumers say technology is redefining their behavior as a customer, and 70% agree that it has made it easier to take their business elsewhere. Connected consumers want their concerns heard immediately and issues resolved quickly, and they want digital options to help them accomplish that.
According to Salesforce Research, 50% of consumers would consider switching brands if a company does not provide an easy-to-use mobile experience. Connected consumers want to be able to do everything from their phones at any time. They want user-friendly self-service options that empower them to troubleshoot certain issues on their own, as well as the ability to instantly connect with the business if they need more assistance.
Connected consumers also want a fast, personalized experience. Almost 65% of consumers and 80% of B2B customers expect businesses to respond and interact with them in real-time. As technology replaces social interactions, consumers also want businesses to add a personal touch to communications. State of the Connected Consumer research found that two-thirds of consumers say they’re “extremely or somewhat likely to switch brands if they feel they’re treated like a number rather than an individual.”
Consumers are fully expecting technology to become more important within the foreseeable future – over 70% say smart appliances, cars, and homes will impact their daily lives by the year 2020. However, while consumers are open to new technology, they don’t want a robotic customer experience. They prefer technology that improves business interactions rather than replaces them with something that feels unfamiliar. Machine learning techniques like natural language processing can help businesses provide technology-driven customer service that is streamlined and helpful, yet intuitive and natural.
The customer experience is one of the largest factors influencing consumer decisions today. Common interactions like customer service, purchasing, and payment should be as easy as possible, and businesses should utilize technology that helps enhance these interactions. Connected consumers want more than just a great product or service – they want a simple, consistent, and personal experience across every possible touchpoint.
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