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Survey: Fast response times critical to customer experience and brand loyalty


Retailers who frustrate consumers risk brand abandonment.

Almost half of North American and European consumers surveyed by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council say they will abandon a brand if they continuously encounter a poor, impersonal or frustrating customer experience across channels of engagement. The study was undertaken in partnership with SAP Hybris.

When asked to outline the key aspects of an exceptional customer experience, 52% expected fast response times to needs, suggestions or issues. Forty-seven percent wanted knowledgeable staff ready to assist wherever and whenever needed.

Less important were elements like always-on assisted service (8%), brand-developed social communities to connect consumers with other fans (9%), and access to multiple touchpoints as part of the customer journey.

The most common frustration for consumers in engaging with brands is price increases on products that consumers do not perceive as having improved or been given added value. The second most common frustration (36%) is when consumers are not treated like the loyal customers.

The cost of continuing to frustrate consumers is brand abandonment as 47% say they will stop doing business with a brand. While 32% of consumers would email the company to complain and 29% would tell all family and friends, the overwhelming reaction to frustration was to abandon the brand and spend their money elsewhere.

"Today, the differentiator isn't whether we are able to individualize an experience, but rather having the insight and intelligence to know where, when and how a customer expects to be greeted with value and relevance," explained Liz Miller, senior VP of marketing at the CMO Council. "Consumers don't need personalization at every moment. But what this research amplifies is the requirement to get relevant, personalized experiences right for an audience of one in their micro-moment of need."

Other key findings from the study include:

-70% of consumers are willing to share some degree of their personal data with brands; 22% say they will only share data if it is being used to deliver more relevant and better offers.

-Consumers are willing to share data in exchange for value, with value is defined as something that saves money (77%), saves time (49%) or makes life easier (47%).

-While men admit they prefer mostly digital experiences (61% ), women (59%) admit that no channel really meets all of their needs.

-The top frustration for women ties back to the disconnect in physical and digital experiences as they are most irked by buying something online and not being able to return it in store (56%). Men, on the other hand, are most frustrated by constantly feeling the brands they do business with know nothing about them.
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