New research explores the impact of long-term consumer relationships on business…
Accenture Strategy recently released its latest Global Consumer Pulse report, which surveyed 24,877 consumers worldwide about their evolving expectations towards companies. The results shed light on the ever-challenging balance brands small and large aim to strike: delivering personalized experiences while safeguarding consumer information and using it appropriately.
The big takeaway: “Hyper-relevant” content is directly correlated with higher customer satisfaction. At the same time, failure to protect consumer data or be fully transparent as to how information is used results in distrust and, ultimately, loss of business.
“Those that succeed will hit a sweet spot whereby customers will be willing to share more personal insights into their world in return for greater value and the confidence that their data is protected,” said Robert Wollan, senior managing director and advanced customer strategy global lead at Accenture, in Adweek.
Here a few relevant findings, as aggregated by Adweek:
- Lack of trust costs global brands $2.5 trillion per year. This compares to $756 billion lost by U.S. companies and 41 percent loss of clients.
- Forty-three percent of U.S. consumers and 44 percent of global consumers reported that they were more likely to buy from companies that personalize experiences.
- Thirty-one percent of U.S. respondents and 34 percent of global respondents stated they find value in services that learn their needs from personalization.
- Sixty-seven percent of millennials, 56 percent of Gen Xers, and 42 percent of Boomers claimed they would be willing to share their shopping preferences in order to improve the service they received.
- Eighty-seven percent of global consumers and 92 percent of U.S. consumers claimed they believe it is extremely important for companies to safeguard their information.
- Fifty-eight percent of global consumers and 66 percent of U.S. consumers want companies to be more transparent about how the information they gather is used.
Accenture’s research asserts that on the whole, “many aspects of customer sentiment and frustration have changed very little over the years.” Nevertheless, despite the additional investments made to improve CX, few have been successful in generating growth or competitive advantage.
In order to address what the company is referring to as a “CX stagnation,” they proposed three fundamental opportunities. Primarily, companies should focus on minimizing “switching,” referring to the loss of one customer or client to another brand or company, by addressing the most common customer service frustrations such as having to contact the company multiple times for the same reason, dealing with unfriendly or impolite employees, and not being provided what was promised at the time of purchase.
The generation with the highest propensity to “switch” and therefore in need of the most retention efforts? Millennials. This is due in large part to their elevated “digital prowess” rendering them more adept at identifying their alternatives and accelerating purchasing power that has them on pace to control $24 trillion in wealth by 2020.
A second important opportunity outlined in the report includes upping the speed and scale at which uniquely-catered and innovative experiences are delivered. In order for this to be successful, two critical puzzle pieces are required: personalized and contextual data and digital trust. The underlying theme here is to work towards being a “living business,” with services and content that “always matter.”
Finally, Accenture points to AI as a significant space to be tapped into with respect to addressing the current customer experience dilemma. Per the report, 50 percent of customers no longer care if they are interacting with humans or AI-enabled technologies if it means getting a favorable experience. Further, of the 44 percent of consumers claiming they use some type of virtual assistant, 22 percent responded they do so on a daily basis.
Regarding how satisfactory they find their experiences with virtual assistants, 89 percent of U.S. consumers and 87 percent of global consumers reported they were satisfied.
Companies should keep in mind when developing and implementing their AI solutions, however, that more than 40 percent of consumers voiced at least one reason for not trusting digital assistants. As a general best practice, such concerns should never be a second thought and always taken seriously and addressed in a timely fashion.