Today’s companies are faced with a new reality. The “Connected Consumer” is no longer an abstract concept but a driving force. Although most companies have accepted this new reality, how many are really walking the walk? Consumers continue to reward brands that offer differentiated service using the technologies that they love to use.
I recently downloaded and read “The 2013 Customer Experience Management Benchmark Study” authored by Execs-in-the-Know and Digital Roots. This report not only educated me as to what was going on in the Customer Service industry but it really made me wonder whether the companies we deal with on a regular basis are ready for the “Connected Consumer”.
In order to answer the question: “Are you ready for the Connected Consumer?” we first need to look at how customers choose to engage. It varies by geography and demographics but I think it’s safe to say that the majority of your customers use the internet either by PC, smartphone, tablet or some combination of these three devices. Interestingly, the study reveals that 72% of online adults use social networking sites(1) and, according to the study, 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media site for customer care(3). So, in addition to the traditional customer care channels (phone, email, and chat), social media is emerging as a channel that companies simply can’t ignore.
The proof is in the pudding. 93% of consumers would have an improved impression of a company if they addressed complaints on their company social media page(2). Speed of response is also a big factor – 83% of Twitter users expect a response from a brand within one day(4). So consumer demand is there and the incentive for companies to deliver social customer care is clear, so why aren’t more companies doing it? Now is not the time to ignore the trend and label it as a “fad” or a “phase” – “social media” is now a legitimate customer communication channel – and the cost of not doing it can exceed the investment in it – just look at those supermarkets who missed out on online ordering and delivery – they are racing now to get a slice of the action.
And what about offering customer care from smartphones and tablets? Banks were early adopters of mobile apps but that was just the tip of the iceberg. Opportunities to deliver customer care via mobile apps are limitless. 90% of consumers think companies should offer mobile apps to help manage accounts and provide product or service information(2) – which the majority of mobile apps out there do very well. But what if you want to contact a customer service or support representative while you’re using the mobile app? 77% of the companies in the study DON’T currently offer a mobile chat solution. What’s up with that?
Technology is rapidly changing customer behavior and by extension, the customer experience. Customers are using new and innovative channels to communicate with us. They are better informed, better connected and have higher expectations. To better serve your customers, it is essential to challenge your traditional views of customer care. So how does your company rate? Are you a leader or a laggard? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
1 Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, April 17-May 19, 2013 Tracking Survey.
2 Execs In The Know and Digital Roots 2013 Connected Consumer Benchmark Study.
3 J.D. Power and Associates 2013 Social Media Benchmark Study.
4 NM Incite State of Social Customer Service.