A new research report from MuleSoft and Opinium Research found that customer loyalty is being damaged by organizations that are unable to provide seamless experiences across channels and timely access to information. As a result of these disconnected experiences, a significant number of UK consumers said they would consider changing their insurance (63%), retail (61%) or banking (55%) providers. The lesson for marketers: brands' failure to meet consumers' expectations for connected shopping experiences leads to disloyalty – and leads to a downward spiral of chasing new customers rather than increasing the value of existing customer relationships.
The Connected Consumer Report 2017, which looks at the quality and consistency of consumer experiences across different industry sectors, is based on a survey of 2,000 adults in the United Kingdom. According to the report, here are the top contributing factors to disconnected consumer experiences:
Personalization falls short of customer expectations: A common complaint from many UK consumers is that they continue to be poorly targeted with personalised information and offers, which indicates customer data isn't being used effectively. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of consumers believe banks provide a personalized service; however, this figure plummets for retailers (46%), insurance providers (45%) and public services (39%).
Data input deja-vu causes customer fatigue: More than half of UK respondents (%) said they get frustrated at having to re-input or re-submit personal information that was previously provided when dealing with insurance providers and public services. Neither the banking nor retail sectors fared much better, with 48 percent and 46 percent of respondents expressing frustration.
Wait times and unfulfilled requests leave customers dissatisfied: The speed at which organizations respond to online or offline requests for information is another area of frustration for many consumers. The research reveals that the UK’s public services are at the bottom of the pile again in this regard, with more than a third (34%) of consumers who have submitted a query or request for information finding it could not be answered or took longer than anticipated because staff did not have access to all the information they needed. Consumers had similar complaints about bank (30%), retail (28%) and insurance (28%) providers.
Difficulty in sharing information leads to customer abandonment: The research found that sharing information is often difficult and a significant number of consumers are simply giving up on an activities or requests for this reason. Nearly a quarter (23%) of consumers have given up on interacting with a retailer because they were not able to share information in a way that suited them. In comparison, 21 percent of consumers have given up interacting with insurance providers, 20 percent with public services and 19 percent with banks.
Money quote from MuleSoft VP Ian Fairclough:
"Today's consumer expects a fully connected and highly personalised experience, but it is clear that organizations across the private and public sectors are falling short. As the figures in the Connected Consumer Report show, siloed data and systems can have a negative impact on customer loyalty. Businesses across every industry need to prioritize connecting applications, data and devices, enabling customer loyalty to pervade every aspect of a business and provide a seamless experience for their customers. For businesses that don't, they risk consumers disconnecting from them."
The research highlights that there are opportunities for organizations to meet consumers' expectations in the future. Nearly half of UK consumers (48%) would be happy for banks to share their banking transaction history with a trusted third-party if it gave them a more personalised banking experience. Indeed, nearly a third (30%) of UK respondents would consider using Amazon, Google, Facebook or Apple for banking services if it was offered, rather than using their standard bank. This figure jumps to 45 per cent for 18-34 year olds, indicating they are more willing to embrace this potential new wave of banking services, citing simplicity and convenience as their biggest reason for doing so.
In the insurance sector, UK consumers are also starting to be more open to sharing personal data. More than a third (37%) of consumers would be happy for their insurer to utilize third-party data from Facebook and collect data about their behavior, if it meant that they were provided with a more personalized service and lower premiums. Once again, it is the younger 18-34 age group (46%) that is most happy to share such data.
Download the report here