Easy, fast… and warm? Is the digital a friend of the human?
Technology has transformed the way we acquire and consume services. We see, compare and buy all kinds of products immediately and from anywhere we choose. Even the nature of such products has changed: for example, we consume music and audio-visual content through streaming, in a format that is unbound to any physical medium.
Penetration of the digital is enormous, to the extent that Accenture highlights in its latest Annual Survey on Consumer Habits that 88% of global consumers have contact with at least one digital channel before they acquire a product, regardless of whether they do so online or in a traditional store.
Buying is quick, varied, simple… but is it also friendly and warm? According to the consulting firm, most retailers have attached a large part of their sales expectations to digital channels. What is more, some even market their products exclusively online.
Certainly, consumers find many advantages in this distribution channel, but there are also a few drawbacks: only 36% of those consumers, according to the same source, claim that the digital store offers better brand and product interaction than a physical store.
This influences brand loyalty, which has already suffered because of the existing diversity of offers in the Internet. If, on top of that, you add the lack of personalized service (by personalized we mean given by a person) the consumer’s engagement to a specific brand suffers even more.
Again, Accenture claims in this respect (with data from 2014) that only 25% of consumers would recommend one of their digital suppliers.
Customer listening programs: giving the digital world a soul
This lack of loyalty is particularly evident in the banking, retail and Internet sectors, ironically some of the first to embrace the digital as an element of customer acquisition and satisfaction.
According to Accenture, consumers value three aspects in the purchase process: the product itself, where it is sold, and the purchasing experience. The second aspect cannot be changed in the case of online commerce, while the digital environment offers an extensive arena for the development of the third issue.
Especially because, according to this consulting firm, the user experience is increasingly important in purchasing decisions made by consumers, which spells good news for brands.
Working on the client’s customer journey through all its stages is essential, as is the execution of customer listening programs to detect and satisfy their needs.
As the graph shows, brands thus raise their level of interaction with clients throughout the purchasing process, and in all its steps. If technology allows us to cover the entire process, and reach where we had never reached before, let us do so intensively.
Interacting with our customers not only contributes to making them feel listened to and supported, it also gives any brand access to new ideas that can improve their business, as well as greater knowledge of their target audience.
Alain Afflelou, with ideas4afflelou, or Mutua Madrileña with Soy Innovador, are a couple of examples where we are technological suppliers of a community for ideas crowdsourcing and client co-creation.
One final thought: Accenture states that 56% of managers responsible for their brands’ user experience are planning short-term actions to strengthen the Cx.
Is it a profitable investment? Yes, because according to the same source, these are brands that cannot offer personalized service in the digital world, and have therefore had to rely on lucrative discounts to create loyalty among their clients.