As companies invest more in the customer experience, there is some concern about whether such a commitment will be enough to retain increasingly fickle customers who are constantly being wooed by competitors.
A study of 2,000 U.S. consumers by Accenture, for example, shows that 40% were willing to change their brand loyalty for at least one reason, such as:
- The customer could receive discounts or coupons via the retailer’s social media channels. (18%)
- Google Wallet or other form of mobile payment was accepted in store by the retailer. (9%)
- The retailer allowed consumers to use bitcoin or other digital currencies. (3%)
- Security measures such as a finger print or other biometric sensors were offered when consumers shopped mobile. (21%)
Bob Barr, managing director and global B2B commerce leader for Accenture, says because consumers have exposure to brands all over the world and “can explicitly shop for whatever they want,” it’s also easier for them to switch retailer loyalties if they can’t immediately find what they want – or don’t deliver it to them fast enough.
“Consumers are also willing to switch if they feel the customer service is less than ideal, or if they get a strong recommendation from friends or family,” he says.
With customers having access to more brands and information about a product or company than ever before, how businesses choose to respond will be critical. For example, the Accenture study finds that 60% of respondents say they see too much sponsored content and others kinds of advertisements.
Also, customers can be turned off by a company that hits them too often with online messaging, such as emails or texts. Barr says that companies can’t fall into the trap of believing they have a “relationship” with a consumer simply because the customer buys a product or service. It’s important, he says, that companies look for ways to “preserve” that connection, such as stepping into an advisory role with consumers.
For example, brands can notify customers of expiring warranties or provide solutions to issues that interest the consumer and are customized to his or her needs. “You don’t want to have the consumer saying, ‘Why are you sending me this?’” he says.
“Companies must make sure that they really differentiate the value they bring to the consumer,” Barr says. “Customers (read more here)