When more than 7000 consumers and business buyers around the globe tell you what they expect from their experiences with brands big and small, and why they decide to remain loyal or not, it pays to sit up and listen. That’s exactly what is contained in the recently released State of the Connected Customer Report, which dives into the minds of today’s technology-empowered customers.

Five headline findings stood out to us, but the whole report is filled with insights.

1. The personal touch is paramount

Two-thirds of consumers say they are likely to switch brands if they are treated as numbers instead of individuals.

Almost every aspect of our lives has been digitised, but consumers crave human interactions, even in their digital experiences with businesses. This means building relationships beyond transactions that will help the customer and endure throughout the entire customer lifecycle. But this is not what most businesses expected from customers and planned for.

For businesses that are prepared to invest in humanising and personalising their customer interactions, there are more opportunities than ever and a customer base eager to build relationships.

2. You can have the data, but need to use it well

57% of consumers agree they’re willing to share data with companies that send personalised offers and discounts.

Previously, consumers were wary of providing personal information and data to companies. But now the trade-off is clearer. Customers have an expectation that by providing their personal information, they receive personalised, tailored experiences in return.

This presents an exciting opportunity for service departments to deliver the type of customer experience that creates customers for life. However, customers are also more in control than ever and are prepared to leave in an instant if they do not receive a tailored experience.

This data highlights how crucial the customer service agent is. In today’s business landscape, the role is about so much more than simply answering a customer’s question. The agent is on the frontline of almost every customer interaction and customers aren’t just expecting an answer, they’re expecting the agent to form a human connection with them. But agents can’t create personalised experiences on their own. Businesses must provide the right tools and technology for them.

3. Always be available

71% of consumers say 24/7 customer service influences their loyalty.

Customer loyalty increases share of wallet – the percentage of a customer’s spending within a category that’s captured– and transforms customers into promoters. The advantage of the first point is clear; and happy, loyal customers are the best marketing that your business can have.

Both share of wallet and Net Promoter Score are entirely contingent on the customer experience. Customers are wary of sales tactics, marketing gimmicks or short-lived price promotions, and these are no longer enough to build strong relationships that increase customer loyalty.

Customer service for great brands is now accessible 24/7, so customers expect all brands to do the same. If your customer lies awake at 3am and tries to contact you, but can’t, you’re letting them down.

4. Keep it real

73% of consumers are likely to switch brands if a company provides inconsistent levels of service across departments.

Consistency truly is key to success in today’s service environment. Regardless of channel, customers expect the same fast, personal experience across every stage of the customer journey, so ensure your brand persona truly matches who you are.

Churn has enormous impact on revenue for companies of all sizes – on average, loyal customers are worth up to ten times as much as their first purchase. What could keeping that 73% loyal mean for your bottom line?

5. Customers don’t sit still, so neither can you

71% of business buyers say it’s ‘absolutely critical’ or ‘very important’ to receive product and customer support and service via their mobile devices.

In the past year or so, the number of mobile-only users overtook desktop users. Yet in many customer service departments, mobile customer service continues to lag. Tools like in-app messaging and video chat remain outliers rather than the norm for most businesses.

Even as little as five years ago companies were struggling to make the move towards digital. Businesses are now coming to terms with the fact that the mobile revolution is here and the gap between mobile versus desktop will continue to widen.

What sort of customer experience do you provide? Does it keep your customers and turn them into promoters? To take it up a notch, you’ll need to know what your customers want from you. Start by downloading our State of the Connected Customer Report.