The transformation of the Customer Experience
Posted on Thursday, February 14th, 2013
In the last decade, consumers have rapidly adopted disruptive, online technologies. Customers went from being limited to visits to a brick-and-mortar location to researching and comparing a company’s products and services via Internet searches and review websites followed by in many cases making the purchase online. A shift from brick-and-mortar shopping to e-commerce signaled a new way to communicate with customers. SMS text messaging over mobile phones is not just a way to interact with friends; it is increasingly a means for companies to interact with consumers.
The advent of handheld devices like the smartphone and iPad, have forced an evolution in how consumers and businesses communicate. Today, handheld digital tablet technology makes mobile communications available and useful at every age. Unlike generations before now, even kindergarten students are indoctrinated into this new paradigm. These future customers grasp for their parents’ smartphone or tablet computer as if it was a link to life itself. Along with handheld devices, social networking sites continue to proliferate. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest along with dozens of new, well funded entrants into the field allow consumers a direct line of online communication to each other and to companies on a global scale. And the Internet capabilities of modern smartphones and tablets now give consumers access to social connectivity on the go.
The Internet capabilities of smartphones are also shifting how brick-and-mortar companies operate. Why? When a consumer has a good (or bad) experience, they post via their smartphones, telling thousands of other connected consumers. This
issue alone is driving brand perception into the limelight with just a few clicks on a smartphone. Not only can consumers help create or destroy a brand’s reputation and brand equity, they can also access online content while they are in the store.
This content can include:
- Reviews, comments and videos from other customers (both satisfied and dissatisfied)
- Product features
- Functions and offers
- Competitor’s pricing
Research from Empathica’s Consumer Insights Panel shows that with social technology proliferation, 55% of customers are making on-the-spot, real-time purchasing decisions (Figure 1). Consumers are willing to provide feedback (Figure 2) and often this doesn’t even require offering an incentive. Consumers want to provide feedback to brands and are self-motivated to post comments online. A large share of respondents’ feedback is simply to relate either a positive (31%) or negative (25%) experience with the brand.
This means that the need for companies to partake in these social interactions as well as provide better customer experiences is extremely important. Companies that do not pay attention to this phenomenon may eventually have to close their doors because they won’t be able to compete with competitors who do take social networking seriously.
The above is an excerpt from the Empathica’s latest whitepaper “Social CEM: Moving Beyond Customer Loyalty to Customer Advocacy.” To learn how to use Social Customer Experience Management to transform your business, download the full whitepaper.
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