There appears to be a disconnect in how retail marketers and consumers view the current state of customer experience.
According to a new survey of more than 3,000 consumers and 450 senior marketers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, marketers (34%) are nearly twice as likely as consumers (18%) to believe brands do an excellent job delivering an exceptional customer experience. The survey was conducted by The Harris Poll and commissioned by RedPoint Global.
Marketer results indicate they do see technology as hindering their attempts to bridge customer experience strategy and execution. Specifically, 57% of marketers report that their company has the right customer experience strategy in place but is unable to execute it effectively.
In addition, marketers from organizations with a large number of separate customer engagement systems report difficulty in providing a seamless customer experience. Six in 10 (61%) of marketer respondents with up to nine engagement systems say it is difficult to provide a seamless customer experience, with that percentage rising to 76% among marketers with 10 or more engagement systems.
Most marketers (86%) report they have made improvements in closing the gap between customer experience strategy and execution across all customer interaction channels over the last year, while 83% are confident that they will continue to improve over the next year. Almost all marketer respondents (96%) anticipate their customer experience strategy will further evolve over the next 12 months.
On the customer side, 63% of consumer respondents expect personalization as a standard of service. Fifty-two percent of consumers feel like a brand recognizes them as an individual when they are sent unique special offers, while 43% feel individually recognized when they are recognized as a customer across all touchpoints.
Yet according to consumer respondents, many brands are not keeping pace with personalization expectations. Interactions that consumers label “very frustrating” include brands sending them an offer for a recently purchased item (34%), sending offers that aren’t relevant (33%), or when a brand fails to recognize them as an existing customer (31%).
The survey also reveals that a slight majority of consumers (54%) are willing to share personal information with companies if it will be used to create a personalized experience, which rises for younger generations like Gen Z (ages 18-23) (72%) and millennials (ages 24-37) (70%).
The trade-off is that in exchange for sharing personal information, consumers expect transparency, with 74% saying it’s very important or absolutely essential brands tell them what information is being collected.
Marketers and consumers do agree there is room for improvement. Most marketers (76%) admit their company still has significant room for improvement in delivering a consistently exceptional customer experience, with nearly the same percentage of consumers (78%) agreeing.