Sofiann McKerrell
22nd Aug, 2017

online shopping

(Photo by Pixabay.

New data from consumer reports showed that consumers are becoming impatient while brands are having difficulty keeping up and satisfying consumer demands.

All research and reports coming out about consumer experience (CX) provided evidence of consumer dissatisfaction, particularly on mobile page speeds, resulting in abandonment.

According to a report in think with Google, recent data showed that “40% of consumers will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load”.

Unfortunately, many retail mobile sites fail to meet the 3-second mark.  In the US, for instance, such sites load in 6.9 seconds on average in July 2016. Clearly, webmasters and marketers need to work on mobile page speed.

There is also data that supports big business loss if consumers are dissatisfied with site performance. 79% of them are less likely to buy from a site with poor performance.

Changes have to be made ASAP.

But new evidence showed that keeping up with customer demands is a bigger challenge for brands than dealing with competitors.

An Accenture Interactive study showed that 9 out of 10 companies struggle to deliver experiences that exceed what customers expect. Customer expectations are changing at lightning speed and are becoming liquid, but brands are struggling to change with consumers at the same time.

Accenture Interactive’s study, “Expectations vs Experience: The Good, The Bad, The Opportunity”, was launched at the Cannes Lions Festival with 702 customer experience decision-makers participating. They come from companies in 14 different countries.

When asked about the digital customer experience they deliver, their response is as follows:

  • 67% claim they meet consumer expectations
  • 52% claim they are ahead of the competition
  • 7% claim they exceed customer expectations

The reality, however, is that most companies often think “inside out”, where CX initiatives are made without consulting directly with customers.

If brands are to meet or exceed CX expectations, they should take the “outside-in” perspective, which only 57% of all 702 respondents satisfy.

But what defines a brand with high-performing customer experience?

cx mastery

(Photo by Accenture.

18% of correspondents in the Accenture Interactive study scored high across 8 key metrics that lead to an improved digital customer experience. These are:

  1. Increased brand relevance
  2. Customer loyalty
  3. Customer satisfaction
  4. Cost savings
  5. Return on investment
  6. Revenues
  7. Market differentiation
  8. Scale and efficiency

The high performers showed better than expected outcomes for these metrics. In terms of improved brand relevance, for example, high performers scored 81% while other brands only reached 60%.

High performers showed distinct behaviors that indicate their mindset is centred on customer experience.

For one, they treat digital CX as an ongoing initiative instead of a project that needs to be completed at one time. This is made possible by adopting a state of constant flux, which satisfies consumers’ “liquid” needs and expectations.

For another, the customer experience they provide is focused on analytics and driven by data, which make it easier to comply with an outside-in perspective.

In addition, they also built strategic partnerships with vendors, not just relationships, to help them fill the gap that would have made it difficult to meet consumer demands. With this kind of partnership, they can continuously transform CX.

Other data that showed rising and changing customer expectations include:

  • Local search volumes have increased but searches with zip codes or geo-modifiers have decreased.
  • 45% of millennials are less willing to wait for things, according to a recent study from Dentsu Aegis Network’s mobile agency, Fetch.
  • There is a significant gap between market investments and consumer technology adoption based on a BrightEdge survey, with more than 60% of marketers having no plans to prepare for search/digital assistants, one of the next big things in brands.

Takeaway for businesses

Gather your own data and check if you meet or fail to meet consumer expectations. Since the gap is mainly due to lack of technology adoption, focus on improving in this department.

The data listed above showed one thing clearly – consumers are addicted to instant gratification and answers and are unwilling to wait for their needs to be met, even when a few seconds more could mean customer satisfaction.

Take a holistic approach to marketing and do as what customer experience high performers do.