Consumers show the preferred path for brand contact

CMO Council reports shoppers don't necessarily need brands to be "everywhere."

Knowing how to prioritize spending in the short term is one of marketers’ biggest headaches. Between new technology platforms, better data systems and changing customer expectations, it’s hard to know where limited dollars are best spent to keep consumers loyal.

A new consumer survey suggests customers may fall back on traditional forms of interaction when looking for fast connection to a brand more often than one would expect. The study offers a checklist of customer experience investments for those looking to spend smarter.

The CMO Council’s latest consumer survey, The Customer in Context (conducted in partnership with SAP Hybris), polled more than 2,000 consumers in Canada, the U.S. and U.K. (a 50/50 split of male and female shoppers over the age of 24). It reports that only 15% of consumers expect companies “to be everywhere.”

But when a problem does arise, consumers expect to establish contact and find a solution quickly, with 47% saying they will “stop doing business with a brand that continues to frustrate them.”

So if they don’t expect a brand to be “everywhere” in the multichannel universe, where are shoppers looking to connect with brands?

Respondents indicated that their contact list is short. Unsurprisingly, a company’s website is the most-frequently used engagement point for consumers; 58% of consumers polled considered it a “critical” touchpoint. Second on the priority list was email at 52%.

However, the good old fashioned telephone ranked third. Not smartphone apps; dialing a company’s toll-free line earned the last podium spot. At 46%, it won out over in-person engagement (30%) and social media (27%).

The report’s authors say this takes some of the omnichannel pressure off marketers, but not so much that it removes the need for knowledgeable staff who are “ready to engage, regardless of channel.”

“Customers are defining which channel is important at different stages of their journey,” the report says. “This means it is even more critical for marketers to truly understand their target audience. Then, we can leverage that understanding to enable customers to move through the customer journey at their own pace without friction.”

Photo by Ehimetalor Unuabona on Unsplash