Are brands today all work and no play? Modern (largely unexcited) consumers seem to think so. In fact, just a small segment (14 percent) of customers expects to be wowed by brands these days, according to new research from consumer-focused business software firm Freshworks—creating a major opportunity for companies to exceed expectations in delighting their customers.
The firm’s latest report, Deconstructing Delight: Understanding the Complexity of Consumer Expectations, explores the complexity and contradiction of consumer expectations, affirming that a majority (77 percent) of consumers are willing to exchange information for a more personalized, faster and values-driven experience.
“Customers rule the world, and many of them have shown empathy by adjusting expectations for companies over the trials and tribulations of the pandemic,” said Stacey Epstein, chief marketing officer at Freshworks, in a news release. “We are seeing now that many will exchange information about everything from personal values to salary information for personalized service that improves their experience. The takeaway for companies is that they can no longer separate their product from the customer experience; instead, it is a business imperative for companies to make it easy to delight their customers through thoughtful, easy and speedy interactions that reflect customer values.”
Low customer expectations for delight offer a big business opportunity
Across the world, consumers revealed surprisingly low expectations for the quality of their customer experiences with companies—confirming that many legacy systems used for customer engagement are broken and ripe for a fresh approach.
- Companies have set a low bar. Just 14 percent of consumers expect to be wowed by a company, and only 14 percent expect personalization.
- Don’t believe the hype. Fifty-six percent of consumers said a brand’s customer service often does not match the image they portray.
Consumers expect brands to understand their personal values
With social justice and sustainability discussions dominating global news, people increasingly are identifying with brands based on causes they care about. Sixty-three percent of consumers expect brands to consider their personal values when communicating and will exchange personal information for a better experience.
- Get real. Eighty percent of global consumers want more honesty from brands and two-thirds (67 percent) seek more empathy.
- Exchange for experience. While 23 percent consumers won’t share personal information to improve their customer service interactions, the rest are willing to share a range of data in exchange for a better experience, including relationship information (25 percent), browsing/purchasing data (24 percent), values they care about (21 percent), and salary (10 percent).
Complicated consumers require various communication options
Consumer attitudes toward engaging with companies are complicated and seemingly paradoxical at times. While most seek the human touch, many consumers would rather work with automated technologies. Companies must offer a range of communications channels to meet differing and ever-changing consumer preferences.
- Consumers don’t always add up. While 71 percent consumers would rather speak with a person than use self-service technologies, 39% would rather go the self-service route than have to speak to a company using any other channel.
- Call me maybe. One in four (26 percent) don’t enjoy communicating with companies at all, while nearly half (49 percent) want to hear more from them.
- The demise of email has been greatly exaggerated. Email ranked highest for making a complaint (31 percent), tracking an order (28 percent), providing feedback (24 percent) and product information/support (22 percent).
“For businesses looking to develop deeper, more personal connections with their customers, they should take consumer values into consideration in their approach to communication,” said Jo Causon, CEO of The Institute of Customer Service, in the release. “Our own research supports these findings from Freshworks, with many customers now paying much closer attention to brands’ ethics and approach to sustainability. The proportion of customers willing to pay more for better service is increasing, and there is a strong link between a better customer experience, greater customer loyalty and long-term business performance.”
Opinium, on behalf of Freshworks, surveyed 11,502 global adults aged 18+, from Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Statistics were collected from 1st-7th June 2021.