“In today's digital marketplace, customers have complex, varied paths to purchasing, and equally diverse feelings around brand interactions. Businesses need not only a deep understanding of their customers' buying habits, but also their desired forms and depths of communication with a brand along every step of their purchasing journey”, SAP explained, when releasing its Customer Journey Poll, a survey aimed toward helping organizations improve their understanding of customer happiness and encourage brand loyalty.
The October poll of more than 3,000 Americans, ages 18 and older, provided insight into what makes customers loyal to a particular brand. To improve overall engagement and loyalty, brands should take into consideration their customer's preferred method of communication, research methods and values they hold at highest importance SAP advices. Key results of the poll include:
- Brand values: Nearly one-third of respondents (30%) cited "shared values" as a reason they are loyal to a brand;
- Email outreach: While email was cited as the most popular way to communicate with companies, almost half of customers (48%) said they had problems with delayed or no responses to email;
- Customer support: More than half of those surveyed (54%) would like — or may like — an offer of help before they have to ask for it;
- Personalization: 69% would like personalized information about a brand's products;
- Product quality: 75% said a product or service's quality contributes to their brand loyalty;
- Internet presence: 72% of respondents said they research products and services online.
"We've heard the notion of the customer being in the driver's seat over and over again and these results really drive that point home," said Jamie Anderson, global senior vice president, Customer Engagement and Commerce, SAP. "The message is clear: Brands must not only provide the best possible customer service, but also truly invest in learning about each customer's individual buying habits and interaction preferences, while also making that information really accessible. It's both an exciting and difficult time for brands to connect with their customers, and we continue to help brands understand and adapt to their customer's individual preferences to put them ahead of competition and strengthen customer relationships, which is the main goal."
SAP found three distinct personas that surfaced from the poll data: The "virtuous" customer who patronizes companies that have values to which he or she relates; the "invested" customer, who loves to interact with companies and often seeks guidance and information; and the "ignored" customer, whose inquiries about a product or service sometimes get delayed or ignored. By understanding which customer falls into which persona, brands will have the ability to deliver content that customers consider most important and, in turn, improve overall engagement.
"Consumer products companies and retailers understand that value is created every time you improve the customer experience. SAP is committed to helping companies delight their customers by improving the experience wherever it takes place" said Pat Bakey, global head of Consumer Industries, SAP.