Study Finds Customers Want to Help Brands Succeed

March 31, 2015

InMoment Research Identifies where Brands and Consumers Diverge on Customer Experience, Delves into the Meaning of “Value”

SALT LAKE CITY (March 31, 2015) — InMoment’s market insights team recently asked consumers and brands to rank importance of the same set of customer experience (CX) elements. The study uncovered areas of alignment and disconnects between these two groups. However, the most compelling insights came in what consumers said about the kinds of relationships they want to have with brands.

Consumers Want to Make a Difference

The strongest theme consumers expressed in both structured and unstructured, verbatim responses was their desire to be valued by the brands they support. One in three explicitly mentioned how they want to feel about their interactions with brands, using words and phrases like “feeling valued,” “acknowledged,” “heard,” “appreciated,” and “respected.” But the most interesting finding was that nearly half of the people who mentioned the word “value,” used it to express their desire to give value to the company. And when asked why they give feedback, four in five consumers selected “I enjoy offering my feedback and making a difference.”

Consumers also said they want brands let them know how they plan to use their feedback, whether or not it was helpful, and what changes it inspired.

“Consumers are offering brands a gift,” said Lonnie Mayne, president of InMoment. “They want the brands they love to be successful, and they’re eager to help. If companies build their business around really listening and responding to customers, not only will they be able to create the kind of fierce customer loyalty and advocacy that translates in to positive financial results, customers will also provide insights into improving other parts of their business as well.”

Other findings include:

Biggest Disconnect: Consumers ranked Reliable Online Reviews #2 in importance, while brands ranked it very last at #6. However, while one in four brands ranked this factor last, one in five executives actually placed it as #1. At first glance, researchers thought this split might represent different views of brands that serve consumers, and those that serve other businesses. A closer look at the data showed B2C and B2B companies on both sides of the spectrum.

“This finding shows the huge split we see in how brands feel about online reviews,” said Mayne. “While some companies take them seriously and treat them as an important source of customer feedback, others discount online reviews and other social feedback as less important. Regardless of what type of business a brand is in, we recommend making all social feedback a priority. Customers who air their views in public forums tend to be more connected, more vocal, and generally more engaged with your brand than their peers and other customers.”

Fully Aligned: Consumers and brands ranked “Shorter Surveys, More Listening,” #1 and #2 respectively. What we found particularly interesting is that consumers did not express a lack of interest in giving feedback. What they don’t like are long-form surveys that focus on what the company wants to know versus what they want to share. We saw phrases like: “fast and easy to complete, with relevant questions that relate,” and “ability to leave as short or as long a review as I want.”

“Our philosophy when it comes to feedback is that how you listen really does matter,” continued Mayne. “In their rush to get more data from customers, brands often forget that asking customers to share their experiences is an opportunity to reinforce and grow the relationship, and instead end up making the process dull at best, and painful at worst. Vendors and brands alike must stay focused on listening to what customers want to tell us about their experiences, not just on the operational metrics we want to know about.”

Click here to download a comprehensive overview of InMoment’s CX Trends study.

Methodology

InMoment maintains a consumer insights panel, and a team of data scientists who conduct regular research on a range of customer experience topics. For this study, 644 consumers and 131 brand representatives responded. Of the consumers, 569 also shared comments. From the brands, 49 did.

Consumer Mix: 85% in U.S.

  • 15% in Canada
  • 52% female
  • 48% male
  • 95% have degrees or technical training
  • 1 in 4 are single
  • 2 in 3 are married or in a domestic partnership – 2 in 3 have a household income of $50K+

Brand Mix: 58% located in U.S.

  • 18% located in Canada
  • 24% internationally based
  • 32% are CX professionals
  • 18% are ops professional
  • 15% are sales or marketing professionals
  • 8% hold contact center or customer service positions – 27% other, such as finance, IT, and HR

Consumers and brands were giving six elements of customer experience and asked to rank their importance. The elements included:

  1. Mobile first: Ensuring 24/7 mobile support for customers
  2. More reliable online reviews
  3. Personalized experience: Brands using customer information to personalize messages and promotions
  4. Shorter surveys, more listening: Fewer set questions, more options for customers to share experiences in their own words
  5. Feeling trumps function: Relationships and customer experience will reign over function, price and selection
  6. Transparency: keeping customers informed on how their feedback is being used

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