From the convergence of customer service, marketing, and information technology came the emergence of customer experience. Brands can no longer simply sell products and services, for they must foster relationships in an effort to cultivate engagement and loyalty. Yet, while advanced technologies enable companies to connect with customers on an increasingly personal level, few consumers agree that these businesses provide the level of individualized care they crave.
Mblox's recent "Identifying the Care Gap in Business-to-Consumer Engagement" report explores the gap between business perceptions and the reality of the customer experience. Conducted by Millward Brown Digital, the survey polled 1,650 mobile phone owners and users over the ages of 18-1,100 consumers and 550 business representatives-throughout the U.S., the U.K., and Australia to explore the care landscape by measuring consumer satisfaction alongside brand engagement.
The following statistics demonstrate where companies currently lag with regard to customer care, and how mobile technologies can help bridge this divide:
- While 73 percent of brands believe they care for their customers, only 36 percent of consumers agree, exposing the 37 percent gap between what businesses think and how customers feel.
- Overall, 67 percent of brands believe customers are pleased with their mobile communication methods, yet only 47 percent of consumers are truly satisfied with said strategies.
- Eighty-six percent of consumers are open to mobile communications, such as email (57 percent) and SMS (41 percent), yet only 58 percent of companies use mobile to engage with customers.
- Respondents prefer SMS text messages for urgent or real-time communications, such as outage notifications, appointment reminders, and account balance alerts, while email remains ideal for common marketing messages, such as deals, promotions, and product sales.
- Currently, email (73 percent) stands as the most common mode of communication, followed by phone calls (56 percent), text messages (55 percent), social media (54 percent), and mobile apps (42 percent). Only 8 percent use games to interact with consumers.
- Companies often choose not to engage with consumers via mobile platforms because it's not the best means to contact customers (47 percent), or they don't have the technology (39 percent). Privacy (16 percent), expense (13 percent), and invasiveness (10 percent) are also factors.
- Of those industries surveyed, consumers believe healthcare providers (44 percent) offer the best customer care, followed by retail (41 percent), finance (36 percent), insurance (33 percent), and telecom, cable, and utilities (28 percent).
Key takeaway: By embracing mobile, businesses generate the potential for positive brand experiences. Mobile allows companies to connect with consumers according to personal preference, highlighting their dedication to customer care from the start. Such strategies also enable brands to establish deeper, more intimate consumer relationships in an effort to introduce added value and nurture long-term advocacy. Loyal customers then translate into recurring revenue, as they're likely to purchase repeatedly over time. But, above all else, mobile must spread this focus on customer care to the entire organization. Such initiatives must be enterprisewide, for customer care will forever stand at the heart of the consumer experience. Thus, as internal culture evolves, all accompanying strategies-mobile or otherwise-must support continued customer satisfaction, loyalty, and engagement.