Survey: Customers want fast response times, consistent experiences

As the customer experience takes on an even more prominent role in the buyer's path to purchase, a new study shows that customers want quick responses from brands when they have questions and a consistent experience across all channels.

The "Context, Commerce + Customer: Best Practices to Exceed Expectations" report from the CMO Council and SAP polled 170 marketing pros on how disconnects and deficiencies were impacting customer experience, and how analytics and customer insights could create more relevant, personalized and gratifying experiences.

"Customers aren't content to stay in a single lane, and marketers know it. While headlines love to predict that customers are shifting from a wholly traditional engagement pattern to a totally digital one, marketers are aware that the reality is far more complex," according to the report. "Nearly half (47 percent) of respondents indicate that their customers engage across a multitude of channels, but when there is a problem, they pick up the phone and want immediate human attention."

The top attributes of a positive customer experience highlighted in the report included fast response times to issues, needs or complaints (75 percent); consistency of experience across channels (56 percent); a knowledgeable staff ready to assist whenever and wherever the customer needs (52 percent); a person to speak with, regardless of time or location (36 percent); and relevant communications, promotions, recommendations and products (36 percent).

Keeping on top of the expectations of the connected customer was identified as the biggest challenge responding marketers are facing.

"When asked to identify the single greatest challenge that organizations would tackle in order to optimize the customer experience, 20 percent identified keeping up with expectations and demands of the connected customer while 17 percent said they would need to focus on managing and fully leveraging the data being collected," according to the report.

Data issues are also impacting technology-driven marketing, with top challenges including data that is trapped in organizational silos (21 percent), challenges in getting their organizations on board (20 percent), having too much data to manage effectively (20 percent), messy data (12 percent), and adopting an organization-wide data and analytics strategy (9 percent).

For more:
- download the complete report from the CMO Council

Read more on