Salesforce recently reached out to more than 7,000 individuals around the globe to gain insight into the expectations and mindset of the modern, tech-savvy customer. They packaged their findings into the 51-page “State of the Connected Customer Report,” which you can download here.
The report takes a thorough look at concepts like customer experience, loyalty, and personalization—all through the lens of today’s ultra-connected customer. We read it in full, and one thing is clear: to be successful in the modern age, companies need to treat customer experience with the same gravitas they do customer acquisition.
The connected customer’s expectations are higher than ever before, and companies that fail to meet these new demands will likely be outpaced by the competition.
Below, we examine some of the report’s most interesting findings on customer expectations and customer experience, and how these can enlighten your customer feedback program.
The Connected Customer & The Future of Feedback
66% of consumers say they’re likely to switch brands if they’re treated like a number instead of an individual.
The connected customer expects more than mass appeals. Messaging that isn’t customized to their individual needs, wants, and preferences will fall short. They expect brands to leverage the customer data they’ve collected over time and turn that into a personalized, tailor-made experience across the board.
So what does that look like? From customer service interactions to email marketing, businesses need to integrate customer data into the customer experience. Customer info should be made available across departments—and leveraged by all to provide a better customer experience throughout the customer journey.
This means combining purchase history, customer feedback, and support interactions (just to name a few) into a cohesive customer history that grows with each interaction. This is commonly known as omnichannel customer experience. When companies provide it, customers come to feel truly known, understood, and appreciated.
50% of consumers say they’re likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t anticipate their needs—and 74% feel the same if the company doesn’t provide an easy checkout process.
A difficult checkout process can derail customer loyalty too. Half of the consumers Salesforce surveyed aren’t willing to buy when the process is time-consuming and frustrating. Ultimately, they’ll take their business elsewhere.
So how can you spot weak points in the checkout process? First, make sure you have a clean attribution method for customer support tickets. Each email case, phone call, and live chat should be categorized by source and topic. Where was the customer when they asked for help? What were they trying to do?
Detailed info benefits many branches of business. Customer support can use the knowledge for case deflection efforts and focus on common case topics during training. Web and product teams can see the real cost of poor user experience and work to better it. The list goes on.
Customer surveys can help you here too. Website surveys capture timely feedback that helps companies streamline the web experience. These pop-up surveys ask for feedback while the visitor is on a page. If they have a question or encounter an issue, the pop-up nudges them to voice it rather than simply abandoning.
71% of consumers say that customer service provided on any day, at any time influences their loyalty.
According to data from a Walker report, customer experience will be the top competitive differentiator for brands by as soon as 2020. Salesforce’s findings echo this sentiment by showing just how important it is for brands to focus on sterling customer service. Not only does the connected customer expect 24/7 customer support, but they want it offered via their preferred medium (phone, live chat, email, etc.) as well.
So how can you better monitor customer service interactions and ensure you’re delivering the best possible support experience to your customers? Conducting customer satisfaction surveys to gather data on the quality of customer service is one way to keep tabs on these interactions. Consistent surveying can catch major issues that lead to repeated support requests and unhappy customers.
With customer satisfaction surveys, you can ask highly specific questions after customer interactions, like the following:
How satisfied are you with the time it took to resolve your issue?
Were the support engineer’s responses clear and easy to understand?
What feedback can you share that would help us improve your support experience?
By giving your customers a voice through these surveys, you can constantly improve this extremely important aspect of your business and, in turn, drive brand loyalty.
52% of consumers wish they could do more with their mobile devices.
More and more, customers are shifting to mobile for their online needs. That means prospects’ first impression of your brand is very likely occurring on a phone. A stellar mobile experience is obviously a must for brands looking to capture this audience.
It goes without saying, websites must be mobile-optimized to cater to the connected customer. The same applies to the rest of your marketing and customer-facing assets, surveys included. Mobile surveys should handle well on all devices, delivering an optimal experience on the go. Otherwise, completion rates will sink and you’ll generate lackluster data.
89% of business buyers expect companies to understand their business needs and expectations.
This is a critical finding for the B2B space. Business buyers—not just individual consumers—expect a personalized experience. That means that each time an account changes hands—from marketing to sales to customer success and onward—companies need to demonstrate exceptional understanding of that customer’s unique needs.
But you can only learn so much from a Salesforce record and customer interactions. To show true expertise, companies need to build out a comprehensive customer profile that includes customer preferences and feedback. This information can then color each future interaction, delivering the personalization these buyers crave.
The simplest way to identify what customers want is to simply ask. From product feedback to brand positioning data, customer input helps companies better anticipate customer needs and expectations. That customer feedback can then be used to drive smarter, customer-centric initiatives, particularly when it’s integrated with Salesforce.
The bottom line here: Let your customers tell you what they need and want from you—then follow through and deliver it.
With the findings from this report, you can get a better feel for what the modern customer expects from your business, and how you should prioritize your efforts for the year ahead.
We recommend reading Salesforce’s report in full to get to know this modern buyer. They’re likely here to stay.