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Technology has given us a hyper-connected culture. We have almost unlimited, 24/7 access to information right in the palm of our hands. 

Through mobile devices, we are empowered to search, share, connect, learn, and buy. We can voice our opinions, tell our friends, ask our friends, and research products, services, and businesses at a moment’s notice. 

And, this presents important questions for businesses everywhere, “Are you prepared?”

Are you ready, willing, and able to connect with customers, clients, and patients in this hyper-connected way?

To help businesses answer these questions, Salesforce recently conducted the “State of the Connected Customer” study. The report gathered insights from over 7,000 general and business-to-business consumers to get a look at their habits, needs, wants, and expectations.

By looking at some of the takeaways from this study, you can decide if you are ready for this new age of the connected customer.

Takeaway #1: Information-Savvy Customers Now Control the Marketplace

Customers are empowered by the information they can find online. Digital research now makes it easier than ever for customers to research brands, products, and services, and then decide where to do business. And, if customers don’t like what they find at one company, it’s easy for them to find somewhere else to go.

Seventy percent (70%) of respondents said that tech has made it easier for them to take their business elsewhere.

Are you presenting a professional, helpful, reliable, and trustworthy appearance that can capture and keep customers?

Takeaway #2: The Culture of Immediacy Drives Mobile-First Expectations

When it comes to your online appearance, you shouldn’t focus solely on the desktop experience. Most consumers live in a mobile-first world. They turn to handheld devices more quickly than they turn to their desktops. So, your mobile appearance must be as good as your desktop appearance.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of respondents said it was critical or very important for companies to provide an easy-to-use mobile experience.

Take a look at your website or digital presence from your phone. How does it look? Is is easy to navigate and control? Are there obstacles or is it a seamless experience for users?

Takeaway #3: Customers Still Value Human Connections in a Tech-Driven World

Even with so many digital connections running between brands and customers, you can’t forget about the human connection. Customers still want to feel as though brands and businesses see them as people. They like it when brands use information about them to create more personalized experiences.

Sixty-six (66%) of respondents said they are “extremely or somewhat likely to switch brands if they feel like they’re treated like a number rather than an individual.”

Are you getting to know your customers and giving them a custom experience? Or, are you treating all of your customers the same?

Takeaway #4: New Data-Sharing Attitudes Spark Next Era of Marketing Personalization

With a plethora of digital platforms, businesses can now collect data on their customers to create experiences that match their habits and needs. Customers don’t mind sharing their data if that means they get a more tailored, custom experience that comes with rewards.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of respondents said companies offering rewards for purchases had a major or moderate influence on their loyalty.

What are you doing to collect data from your customers to personalize their experience and reward them for their loyalty?

Takeaway #5: Smarter Use of Customer Information Expands Opportunities for Sales

With so much information at their fingertips, customers no longer need to rely so heavily on salespeople to help them through their purchasing decision. This type of self-led research helps customers educate themselves, but that doesn’t mean they want salespeople to go away completely. They want them to help, just in a different way.

Seventy-nine percent (79%) of respondents said it’s critical or very important to interact with a salesperson who acts as a trusted advisor, not just a sales person.

Is your team trained to help? Or are they trained just to make a sale?

Takeaway #6: Fast, Personal Service Is Directly Linked to Customer Loyalty

With so many ways to connect, it should be no surprise to learn that customers want quick and immediate responses when they reach out to a business. When they need help or information from a brand, they want and expect to receive it quickly.

Eighty percent (80%) of respondents said that a company’s ability to respond immediately when the customer needs help has a major or moderate influence on their loyalty.

How are you managing customer assistance through your digital platforms? Are you quickly responding to and helping people get what they need?

What Did You Discover?

As you went through these six big takeaways from the State of the Connected Customer Study, what did you discover about your business?

Did you find that you are prepared for this hyper-connected world? Are you already implementing strategies that work in this world? Or, are you missing the mark?

If you need more help on learning how to rate your business and operate in this world, visit Salesforce website to download the full “State of the Connected Customer” study.

And get more tips on managing customer experiences in the connected world, by checking out our recent post, “Are You Creating Disappointing Customer Experiences Across Your Platforms?”