The Internet has changed businesses dramatically. In addition to new tools and communication methods for running a business, customers’ expectations, behaviors, and characteristics have changed substantially. Today’s customers and their preferences in how they interact have changed buying and support processes. These changes have also generated the following 4 demands that businesses must be prepared to meet:
1. Technology Innovation
New technologies that change the way people work and communicate are not a luxury - they are an expectation. Today’s customers demand that companies have the latest and greatest technology both as a part of the products they offer as well as in the methods of communication.
Today’s customers have more information and options available than yesterday’s. These smarter customers expect smarter exchanges with companies. According to the survey, State of the Connected Customer, by Salesforce, 58% of consumers agree that technology has significantly changed their expectations of how companies should interact with them.
2. Robust Web Presence
Today’s customers no longer just walk into a store, talk to a sales representative, or even just peruse a company’s website to make a purchase decision. These customers are omnichannel and will often engage with a company via several channels before buying their product or service. From websites to social media channels to mobile apps, customers expect to have significant information available to them in a variety of ways.
In addition to the platforms that a company can control, today’s customers also expect to use the Internet to find user reviews, recommended products or services, customer success stories, and many other points of validation for their purchase.
3. Real-Time Interaction
There has been a fundamental shift in the nature of customer interactions. While consumers were once willing to wait for answers to their sales and support questions, the culture of immediacy has shifted expectations. With constant connectivity comes a new way of life built from the demand that every interaction and transaction happens in real-time. Businesses unwilling to keep up are left in the dust.
State of the Connected Customer also found that 64% of consumers and 80% of business buyers expect businesses to respond and interact with them in real time.
According to the report, “The concept of waiting is quickly vanishing as customers march to the drumbeat of text messages, push notifications, tap-to-buy buttons, and more. This pervading culture increases customer demands of companies — the connected customer now expects interactions with brands to be instantaneous.”
4. Get Personal
Although technology has changed the lives of the connected consumer, they still seek more than algorithms and device-driven transactions. Customers look for a human connection with brands and their representatives, who are experts in their unique situation. Technology is a tool to enhance this connection.
In addition to the personal experiences, customers anticipate that they will have consistent and intelligent experiences across every interaction and communication channel.
Within the last few years, the connected customer has developed new and different expectations. Reaching these customers is imperative to the success of businesses and requires those companies to meet these new demands. Failure to do so could result in significant losses in customers to competitors who have taken these demands seriously.