Customers today are energized by tech innovations — but also plagued by deepening distrust of the companies that provide them. They have high expectations about what makes a great customer experience, and not a lot of patience for companies that fail to deliver.
For the second edition of the “State of the Connected Customer” report, Salesforce Research surveyed over 6,700 consumers and business buyers globally to better understand the modern customer mindset. What do these new norms mean for companies that are vying for their business and their trust?
These trends impact every company, regardless of whether they sell to consumers or business buyers purchasing on behalf of their companies. In this research, “customers” is an aggregate of both consumer and business buyer responses.
The report dives into the nuances of this tricky customer landscape. Here are five of the high-level findings our research brought to light:
1. Customer experience matters even more than you think
“Customer experience” is an unavoidable topic these days, and here’s why. Eighty percent of customers say that the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services [CLICK TO TWEET]. A majority take this sentiment a step further by voting with their wallets; 57% have stopped buying from a company because a competitor provided a better experience.
Much of this experience is rooted in trust: 95% of customers say that if they trust a company, they’re more likely to be loyal patrons. Emphasis on if — but more on that later.
2. B2B expectations mirror B2C standards
The concept of "B2Me" isn’t new, but it’s gathering steam. Eighty-two percent of business buyers want the same experience as when they’re buying for themselves [CLICK TO TWEET]. But only 27% say companies generally excel at meeting their standards for an overall B2B experience, signaling ample room to improve.
On the surface, it may seem that companies face a paradox: how can they provide personalized experiences when customers don’t trust them with the data necessary to provide them? Yet, when the benefits of their data use are clearly spelled out, a majority of customers are actually on board. Some of the standouts include:
82% of customers will share relevant information about themselves in exchange for connections between their digital and in-person experiences. [CLICK TO TWEET]
81% of customers will share relevant information about themselves in exchange for more consultative help from salespeople. [CLICK TO TWEET]
85% of customers will share relevant information about themselves in exchange for proactive customer service. [CLICK TO TWEET]
For 92% of customers, the ability to control what personal information is collected makes them more likely to trust a company with that information. Building trust, and balancing personalization with privacy, will be key for companies to meet customer expectations in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Download the full report for more research on the evolution of customer expectations, the technology that’s driving them, and the balance of trust between customers and companies.