How businesses can meet expectations of the connected customers?

customer experience

As per Salesforce’s latest State of the Connected Customer report, In today’s highly-connected and data-driven business world, customers expect more personalized, quick and seamless customer experiences. Enterprises are doing their best by embracing latest technical tools and acumen business minds to offer the best customer experiences. Technology & digitalization has empowered customers to reach a diverse scale of business in various ways. In order to stimulate customer’s attention and retain them, businesses need to think beyond offering a solution. The must look to offer more connected, and personalized experiences.

To understand how businesses can meet customer expectations, Salesforce Research surveyed over 7000 consumers worldwide which included individual buyers as well as business buyers. The survey report has been embedded in Salesforce’s second edition of the State of the Connected Customer report.

Here are few key points from the report which will help your business stay ahead of the competition.

Creating a comprehensive customer experience

As per the report, 80% of the customers feel that the experience a business offers is as important as its product or service, and 57% of the customers say they have stopped purchasing from a company because a competitor has offered a better experience. Customers have become more empowered than ever before. They are pushing companies to do better when it comes to creating a comprehensive customer experience. 95% of the customers say they are more likely to be loyal to a company whom they trust. 67% of the customers say their expectation for good experiences is higher than ever.

A personalized B2B marketing

The idea of B2B marketing is not new, but slowly it is gathering steam. 82% of the business buyers expect the same experience as they get at the time of personal buying. But surprisingly, only 27% of the B2B buyers say companies are doing a great job when it comes to offering a B2B experience. This indicates an ample amount of improvement is required for B2B service providers. B2B buyer expectations are becoming more specific and consumerized. Let’s see few other findings from the report;

  • 72% of the business buyers expect service providers to offer a personalized engagement to their business needs.
  • 69% expect Amazon-like buying experiences.
  • 67% think vendors are offering more retail-like experiences than ever before.
  • 67% have switched vendors for a more consumer-like experience.

Creating a seamless customer journey

A customer buying journey must be shaped by constant communication and instant gratification. As per 84% of customers, being treated like a human, rather than number is very crucial to win their business and trust. Another 70% say connected processes like seamless handoffs between channels or contextualized engagement based on earlier interactions are extremely important. So, this has become important for business service providers to consider every customer touch point during a buying journey. 59% of customers say customized engagement based on past interactions is also equally important. During the buying journey, 78% of the buyers expect to interact with salespeople who act as trusted advisors with in-depth product knowledge and industry needs. Post-purchase, customers expect to avail 24/7 support from the service providers. Self-service tools and chatbots are rapidly gaining in popularity as they can offer seamless and quick customer support around the clock.

Incite customers with innovative solutions

Innovative solutions are no more an option for any business. In order to win more customers, they have to build innovative products. 56% of the customers (including 66% of business buyers) actively look to buy from the most innovative companies. Technology is playing a significant role in building innovative solutions. The Salesforce State of the Connected Customer report says 59% of customers say companies need to offer top-notch digital experiences to keet their business. 59% also say they are more eager to work with companies using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve their experiences. Emerging technologies are transforming customers and their expectations. the Internet-of-Things (60%), voice assistants (59%), and AI (51%) are topping customer expectations.

Earn customers’ trust, and their data

To offer the experiences that customer expects, companies need a blend of technology and data. But if you look at recent incidents, customers are not trusting companies when it comes to managing personal data. 62% of customers say they are more afraid of their data being compromised now than they were two years back, and 45% of the customers feel doubtful about how companies use their data. At times it looks like a distant dream for companies to offer personalized experiences when their customers don’t trust them. And without data, you can’t offer a personalized experience. However, when the benefits of customer data use are clearly explained, a majority of the customers are actually in. Let’s look at few of the stats;

  • 82% of customers will share relevant information about themselves in exchange for connections between their digital and in-person experiences.
  • 81% of customers will share relevant information about themselves in exchange for more consultative help from salespeople.
  • 85% of customers will share relevant information about themselves in exchange for proactive customer service.
  • For 92% of customers, the ability to control what personal information is collected makes them more likely to trust a company with that information.

Developing trust, and balancing personalization with privacy, will be key for companies to meet customer expectations in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

 

Source: Salesforce, Salesforce State of the Connected Customer Report