"A recent report indicated that by 2020 customer experience will be the key brand differentiator, replacing price and product; in another recent survey more than 65% of consumers indicated they’d stop using a brand after just one poor customer service experience.
It may sound like a thread, but companies can actually take advantage of this new trend.
Increases and advances in mobile devices and social media lead to the birth of a new phenomenon: 'connected customers'; people connecting with each other across multiple digital channels and expecting fast, easy and convenient communication.
Customers will experience your brand in a wide variety of different ways - through ads, websites, blogs, web-chat, social media, email, phone and more. Embracing technology, customers of today expect customer service to be available through multiple channels, allowing them to speak to businesses anytime, anywhere and on any device the same way they do it with their friends.
Essentially a connected customer wants to communicate with a business in the same way they communicate socially - quickly and seamlessly; switching across multiple channels with no ill effects. If you spoke to a friend about something on the phone you wouldn't expect to start the whole conversation again if you switched to social media - connected customers demand the same ease of use and natural communication from your business. They expect your representative on web chat to access to previous conversation on social media and email, and not to have to repeat themselves.
Connected customers represent both an opportunity and a risk for businesses. A connected customer is far more likely to communicate about their experience, good or bad, to other customers, making them a powerful force that can quickly build (or destroy) your brand. Help your customer connect through quick and seamless customer support and they will become a champion for your brand - many connected customers love to tell others about their good experiences with businesses.
Businesses who adopt great multi-channel support early have an opportunity because the customer's satisfaction is directly linked to their expectation:
Satisfaction = Perception - Expectation
Currently the average consumer expectation regarding customer service is low, which means that helping your customer connect in a way they perceive to be superior will give them satisfaction. However there is also a risk that over time more customers will expect excellent customer support across multiple channels and businesses who don't help their customer connect in this way will deliver a poor experience.
Connected customers then are a set of users who will bless early adopters of superior customer support with praise and free advertising, but who will likely punish those who are behind the curve. Which category is your business going to be in?