Since 2013, we have been casting a critical eye on how enterprise engagement solutions solve problems throughout the customer journey. The exponential growth of mobile commerce has amplified both the need for better enterprise engagement solutions and the current lack of true solutions in place across the omnichannel customer journey.
Our latest white paper, Digital Disconnect: How New Consumer Behaviors Disrupt Customer Engagement, revealed some intriguing findings:
Consumers prefer the engagement channel that best fits their lifestyle in the moment.
- Convenience is a more powerful influence than expected quality of experience.
It's time for a new customer engagement experience that:
- Maximizes convenience for consumers
- Fits digital consumers' lifestyles, and
- Supports multiple digital channels and devices.
Enterprise service providers can give consumers what they want AND realize savings.
- There’s an opportunity to shift traffic from higher cost channels (phone, email) to lower cost channels (mobile, social, web chat) and simultaneously better align with consumer preferences.
Before putting a strategy plan into place, it helps to have some background on digital customers themselves and how the consumer journey has been shaped by mobile interactions.
The Digital Consumer
Not long ago, “Digital Consumer” conjured up images of young and super-connected Gen Y or Millennials. How quickly times change on curve of digital adoption. Today, “Digital Consumer” isn’t tied to a Generation, it’s a behavior that spans every generation.
Of the 1,004 consumers we surveyed, 100 percent of them had shopped using a mobile device in the past year. Nearly everyone has a smartphone within arm’s length at all times these days, and they have grown accustomed to using it for much more than phone calls. Think second screens and hashtags, calendars and messaging. “Digital” isn’t a technology, it’s a way of life.
Just three years ago, however, MediaPost reported that roughly 73 percent of the same demographic were shopping via mobile. That may look like a significant jump for traditional service channels. But it's not unexpected in the digital sphere: we know that mobile usage is exerting its force on every aspect of the digital consumer landscape, and is doing so at an extremely accelerated pace.
What else did we uncover about digital consumers?
Twenty-four percent of digital consumers prefer shopping on multiple channels. For example, picture Connie sitting at her open cubicle during her flexible in-office time. She's searching for the perfect gift for her five-year-old niece and starts her search online at work. Later, she picks up her search at lunch on her phone, and then pops in again that night on her tablet while IMing with her sister and catching up on favorite shows she's recorded . She might make the actual purchase on her laptop, phone or tablet—whichever happens to be within arm's reach when she decides what her niece wants.
Shopping online has become a way of life for digital consumers. Undeterred by highly publicized security breaches, 48 percent of those surveyed preferred shopping online. It's much more convenient that having to navigate parking lots and visit stores in person. And, as younger generations choose to live in more urban (read: less car-centric) areas, shopping online becomes more of a necessity. Big box stores exist in urban areas, but having the means to get large purchases, or large quantities of goods, home is limited if you are taking public transportation or using a bike.
How Mobile Has Influenced the Customer Journey
Despite (or perhaps because of) the unprecedented convenience of ubiquitous, always-on web access, consumers are increasingly fragmented in their attention spans. Enterprises have to become much savvier about holding consumer attention for each millisecond a consumer spends engaged with a brand.
Our fictional Connie, for example, switches from device to device as she goes about her daily business, and she is constantly interrupted by other streams of communication—from work, from social media, from family, and from other companies trying to engage. When’s she’s considering a purchase, she wants access to any information she needs to make her decision with as little effort as possible. She doesn’t want to have to pay any more attention than necessary. If she can’t self-serve and needs live assistance, she doesn’t want to stop what she’s doing to make a phone call or send an email. She wants to contact the retailer at her convenience, at any time and on any device that makes her comfortable.
That idea—to meet Connie at her comfort level—represents a big shift in enterprise thinking, and it all began with mobile. Since Connie has a phone in the palm of her hand, she can contact a retailer in several different ways: web chat, text (mobile), social messaging, email or phone (contact center). Enterprises have been treating these different channels as separate entities, and in doing so, are failing their customers.
How brands engage with consumers via mobile has a growing influence on how shoppers feel about a brand in general, and that perception translates into their buying behavior as a whole. Without easy access to assistance throughout their entire consumer journey, consumers get frustrated and some abandon their cart entirely.
- Ninety percent of survey participants indicated that they would be more loyal to a brand if it offered excellent customer support at all points of engagement, and
- Eighty-four percent of survey participants indicated that they would abandon their carts if they can't get the answers they need.
Want more insight into how mobile is shaping the digital consumer journey? Click below to download the full white paper.