Ninety-one percent of Filipino consumers say that their customer experience is as important as the company’s products and services, according to “State of the Connected Customer 2020,” a report by customer relationship management (CRM) firm Salesforce released on October 29.
Customer experience is so valuable that 91% of global consumers would be more likely to make another purchase if they had a positive encounter. A further 78% say that they will forgive a company for their mistake after receiving excellent service.
Convenience is one aspect of customer experience, with over 60% of global consumers saying that they prioritize it over their loyalty to a brand. They have become accustomed to digital convenience solutions such as self-service account portals, which are the most used tool at 59%. More than 40% also sign-up for recurring subscription services and use chatbots for simple customer service.
Several less-used digital convenience solutions have the potential to gain traction: 41% of global consumers are interested in pre-ordering new or out-of-stock items; and more than 30% would like to use curbside pickup, wherein the customer waits in their car for the seller to deposit their purchases in the trunk. Automatic order replenishment is also a feature consumers would like to see.
Personalization is another aspect that consumers are particular with, as 63% percent of Filipino consumers preferring personalized products and services. Aside from the benefit of being recommended bespoke solutions, personalization is also considered as an act of sensitivity, especially during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. It would be tone-deaf of a company, for example, to send an offer for an expensive item to someone who had just lost their job.
Unfortunately, this is a need that is not being met by most companies. While 66% of global consumers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations, only 34% say that companies deliver in reality. Sixty-eight percent of global consumers expect brands to demonstrate empathy, but only 37% say that brands actually do this.
If companies are able to take this challenge, they may be able to inspire loyalty from their customers that could go beyond a transactional level. Fifty-three percent of global customers say they feel an emotional connection to the brands that they buy from the most.
“Extraordinary experiences help companies earn more than sales—they build relationships,” said Salesforce in the report.
The data from “State of the Connected Customer 2020” was collected between July 16 and August 18 of this year. Twelve thousand consumers and 3,600 business buyers from North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia Pacific were interviewed, including 650 respondents from the Philippines. Furthermore, the interviewees were comprised of four generations, namely baby boomers, Gen Xers, millennials, and Gen Zers. — Mariel Alison L. Aguinaldo
Consumers support brands that have the same values
Sixty-one percent of global consumers stopped buying from companies that did not align with their values, according to the same Salesforce report. On the other hand, 59% have switched to another company because of shared values.
Values are becoming a bigger consideration when it comes to brand support. Seventy-one percent of global consumers say that they are paying more attention to what a company stands for than they did in the previous year. Eighty-nine percent expect companies to express these values clearly in statements, and 90% expect that these be demonstrated through action.
“Companies’ reputations are shaped by the intersection of long-standing issues that have been laid bare by the events of 2020 … In short, companies are being held to a higher standard, and in areas that boardrooms have largely not considered,” said Salesforce in their report.
These issues include a company’s treatment of its customers and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, which influenced over 80% of global consumers in their decision to buy from them. Close to 80% were influenced by a company’s environmental practices and actions on economic injustices. A little over 70% decided based on a company’s actions on racial injustices and practices of community involvement.
While one may assume that these sentiments are only popular among younger consumers, they are actually pervasive across generations. Considering the issues mentioned in the previous paragraph, no less than 70% among baby boomers, Gen Xers, millennials, and Gen Zers showed concern for them.
A company’s values and actions become a gateway to consumer trust. There is some distrust among global consumer age groups, with 42% saying that they don’t trust companies to tell the truth. Forty-one percent say that they do not trust companies to act with society’s best interest in mind, while 36% feel that companies do not do what’s best for their customers.
However, there is hope for companies in proving consumers wrong during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fifty-one percent of global consumers said that they trusted a company more during this time, higher than the 31% rate that trusted a company less. In terms of direction, 80% of Filipino consumers identified environmental practices as a major point for improvement, while 71% cited social practices.
“The criticality of building trust with customers isn’t new, but its importance is magnified in the midst of a series of cascading crises. Today, customers aren’t just putting more emphasis on the importance of trust in their relationships with brands but also setting a higher bar for earning that trust,” said Salesforce. — Mariel Alison L. Aguinaldo