InMomentInMomentOctober 16, 2017
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8min196

Despite access to more data than ever before, brands still don’t fully understand what motivates customers.

Customer Experience (CX) is now an established framework that, if managed correctly, can drive fierce loyalty and establish an unbeatable competitive advantage when it comes to developing a deep understanding of the expectations and perceptions of customers.

Over the past year, our experts have noticed customers talking about their desire for personalisation in a much broader way. We found that while customers worldwide appreciate personalised experiences along all points of their journey, some countries prioritise one type over another.

This reinforces the importance that there isn’t a one-size-fits all approach to personalisation. Brands must delve into their customer data to fully understand their customers’ needs and expectations to ensure they are providing them with an accurate personalised service.

In our 2017 Global CX Trends report, we’ve dug deep to determine how consumers and brands prioritise different aspects of personalisation. A lot of brands around the world have used data to send targeted messaging to customers across a variety of platforms, but research has shown that consumers are looking for the next level of personalisation and if brands can get it right, they’ve got the golden ticket to satisfied, reassured and most importantly, loyal customers.

The three-types of personalisation

The three key pillars of personalisation that have come out of the report are support, purchase, and advertising. Interestingly, customers in every country ranked personalised support as their first priority.

Personalised support can be defined as when customers reach out for help. No matter how a customer reaches out to a brand, they already know who that customer is and what they have purchased. In particular, consumers want service companies to know their history so they don’t have to retell the same story to each successive employee they encounter.

In North America and the United Kingdom, customers ranked personalised support higher than the average (45 percent) at 54 and 53 percent, respectively.  Personalisation of this nature will not only improve the overall user experience, but will result in the customer getting the information they need in a faster and more streamlined manner.

Following support personalisation, customers ranked purchase personalisation as a key contributing factor to brand loyalty. Customers expect brands to know them and their needs, as well as offer expertise in what they are selling and make helpful recommendations.

This isn’t just a simple case of upselling products at the point of purchase, but understanding the reasoning behind the product purchase and assessing what will aid the customer in their journey.

This is of particular interest to Spanish customers, who ranked purchase personalisation at 41 percdent, compared to the global average of 35 percent. That said, customers from across the globe want e-commerce sites and in-person sales associates to know who they are and offer the relevant assistance.

Companies who can get this right can expect to reap the rewards. Research suggests that if consumers enjoy personalised interactions, they are happy to purchase more when they feel those experiences provide real value.

Finally, advertising using personal marketing messages that include being addressed by name and offers relating to suitable products is probably the most recognised form of customer personalisation, but surprisingly it was voted the least important globally at just 20 percent.

Companies such as Channel 4 have taken advertising personalisation to a new level by personalising adverts with viewers’ names as they watch content through the broadcaster’s video-on-demand service. Channel 4 has described this service as ‘an immensely powerful marketing tool’, however in the UK, only 17 percent of people thought personal marketing messages were effective.

The insights

The key insights from the report indicate that operation leaders tend to understand personalised experiences in the support and purchase departments as they fall within their areas of responsibility.

Marketers on the other hand often associate personalised experiences with well-targeted advertising. For consumers, it’s about the total journey. The well-targeted advert may drive the traffic to a brand and get customers thinking about a product, but if the support and knowledge from staff isn’t there to make consumers feel safe and reassured, the result can be detrimental.

With the majority of organisations now reporting marketing as the ‘owner’ of the customer experience, it’s particularly important for these leaders to understand and support personalisation in a much more comprehensive way.

The guide to getting personalisation right

James Bolle, Head of Client Services, EMEA at InMoment shares his top tips on personalisation.

  • The heart of any company is its employees. To ensure they are giving your customers the best possible service, they need to be motivated and feel empowered. Make sure each individual has the skills and training they need to offer the best service possible. Encourage employees to share their experiences so they can learn from one another. As Benjamin Franklin once said: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
  • Having the right people on the front lines with the right attitude sounds obvious but it can make an astounding difference to what customers think of your brand. All it takes is one disgruntled customer to have a conversation with one not-so-helpful employee and you’ve lost a customer for life. What’s more, news of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good customer experience*, so employees need to get it right every time.
  • Gathering quality customer experience data can also make a massive difference to how brands communicate with their customers. If brands have the right software in place to capture feedback and insights along every point of a customer journey, then they’ll be well on the way to offering targeted personalised support which will enhance the overall user experience.

InMomentInMomentSeptember 29, 2017
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7min421

Nan Russell, Head of InMoment’s Global Centre of Excellence, discusses the impact Chinese consumers are having on the European Customer Experience.

At an iconic British rail station in the heart of London, an announcement for a train bound for a small Oxfordshire village rings out in Mandarin: 在平台的火将停在比斯特村 (The train at Platform 5 will stop at Bicester Village)

How has a small British village become such a hub for Chinese visitors that station announcements are made in Mandarin?

Bicester Village –   home to over 130 designer outlets – has become a must-visit place for Chinese shoppers.  In fact, the village has become the UK’s second most popular destination for tourists from China, following Buckingham Palace – with three out of four Chinese tourists in the UK visiting Bicester Village.

And that volume of visitors has impacted more than rail station announcements.  In 2016, Bicester Village generated more than £2,945 in sales per sq ft year, an unprecedented figure for the retail industry, beating the level of high-spec American malls.  According to VisitBritain, on average, Chinese tourists in the UK spend over £2100 per visit, excluding spend on accommodations.

Welcome to the global purchasing power of Chinese tourists, and the impact they have on European retail.

In 2016 alone, Chinese shoppers spent $261 billion USD overseas, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization. ‘Shopping has long been central to the outbound Chinese tourism market…McKinsey has found that 29 per cent of Chinese tourists choose their location based on shopping opportunities. The 70m Chinese who travelled abroad in 2015 devoted about a quarter of their total annual consumption to their trips, with half this being spent on shopping.’

In order to accommodate this opportunity, European retailers are fast adapting their retail models.

European Engagement with New Payment Platforms

An immediate impact on the European retail market has been on methods of retail payment.  China leads the markets in cashless retail and European retailers are scrambling to provide Chinese tourists with the same payment options they have in China. Increasingly, that means retailers are building European alliances with the dominant Chinese payment options:  WeChat Pay and Alipay. New partnerships have been launched across Europe to provide cashless payment options to the growing Chinese tourist market

Unlike in the US, a majority of Chinese consumers purchase via QR codes linked to their WeChat Pay or Alipay accounts. Not only do Chinese tourists expect to pay by QR code (a long neglected technology in the West), but typically are already interacting with brands (via their WeChat app) or in the case of Alipay, through the retailer’s promotions.

Social Engagement Pre- and Post-European Visit

Retailers in Europe are now using WeChat as a ‘cross-border marketing platform for Chinese shoppers by adopting tools like geolocation services so that customers can easily find their store, will now have the opportunity to make their experience even easier for Chinese shoppers by offering WeChat Pay’. That action goes beyond the need to integrate new payment, to continuing to engage Chinese customers when they’re back home.

In Bicester Village, the focus on Chinese tourists goes far beyond rail station announcements.  It means not only recruiting Mandarin-speaking staff, but also having an active WeChat site in Simplified Chinese to accommodate questions, interests and payment options.  Increasingly, European retailers using WeChat follow customers home to China – and continue to engage.

In Paris, Galleries Lafayette has made a major brick-and-mortar investment to support Asian tourists by opening a new ‘Shopping and Welcome Center’ providing multilingual services, curated luxury selections and personalised experiences.

Impact on Listening to Customers

How retailers engage with their customers – whilst on holiday or in home markets – is a crucial part of robust Voice of the Customer programmes.  InMoment has long advocated the inclusion of Simplified Chinese as a response language in markets strongly impacted by Chinese tourists. Some clients have been surprised initially by the recommendation, for example, that a Spanish boutique fashion brand in the UAE should include Simplified Chinese feedback. Yet a large component of retail sales in the UAE are driven by Chinese tourists.

Making it easy to engage with these tourists – and demonstrating appreciation for their customs – global retailers strengthen their engagement with customers. Time and again, understanding what their Chinese tourist customers need has driven improved business results and allowed retailers to refine their offer and expand purchase behaviour. InMoment works so closely with Chinese VoC that Simplified Chinese is second only to English in usage across our client base.

And as technology expands to support that tourist retail engagement, InMoment monitors the ever-increasing opportunities for new ways to listen to customers. It is very possible that in the future, WeChat users will be able provide feedback on their experiences without ever leaving the app.


InMomentInMomentJanuary 23, 2017
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6min586

A new study from InMoment reveals that brands lack important understanding of the emotions that drive customer loyalty and significantly undervalue the negative impact of failing to deliver on customer expectations.

Conducted by customer experience optimization leader InMoment, the annual CX Trends Report reveals how consumers and brands prioritize various aspects of the customer experience, examining where they are aligned, and where disconnects exist. In an additional set of annual benchmark questions, InMoment data scientists explored the areas of emotion and personalization.

“Our previous two studies, as well as this year’s, confirm that customers increasingly see their interactions with brands as more relationship-oriented than”

“Customer expectations are actually very reasonable, so failing to deliver on the brand promise leaves them with strong, negative emotions. If the brand promise is in alignment with consumer expectations and consistently delivered, customers are much more like likely to continue, and even, grow that relationship.”

Meeting Expectations Brings Satisfaction and Loyalty

Thirty-eight percent of consumers associated the emotion “satisfaction” with positive brand experiences, while 40 percent of consumers chose that same emotion to describe their experience with brands to which they are loyal. Pairing these findings with a deeper dive into the qualitative data revealed that consumers are both happy and loyal when brands simply deliver on what consumers feel they’ve been promised.

While brands selected “satisfaction” as the most common emotion they associate with delivering positive customer experiences, they do so at a lower rate (26 percent versus 38 percent), and place much more stock in emotions like “feeling part of something special” (14 percent for brands and just 7 percent for consumers).

Missed Expectations Elicit Strong, Personal Emotions

In the study, consumers used strong, personal language to describe bad experiences. The top emotions were “disappointed,” “disrespected” and “frustrated.” In the open-ended comments, consumers across every market used pointed language, including words like “impotence” (Spanish consumer), “rage” (Finnish consumer), and “inconsequential, worthless” (American consumer).

Brands also ranked “disappointed” highest at 29 percent. However, they drastically underestimated the rates at which consumers feel “disrespected” at just 13 percent, and consumers were nearly twice as likely as brands to say they associate the emotion of “anger” with bad experiences (19 percent versus 10 percent).

In other words, brands believe consumers are simply let down when their expectations are not met. In reality, consumer emotions are much stronger and much more personal.

Personalization Should Span Customer Journey

In years past, the study has included personalization of advertising and marketing messages as one of the consistent benchmark questions. This year, researchers expanded the definition to also include personalized support and purchase interactions.

Consumers prioritized personalization during support interactions (45 percent), followed by purchase (35 percent) and advertising/marketing (20 percent). Brands were fairly aligned with consumers in their rankings. However, due to the complexity of delivering personalized support, many brands still struggle to actually deliver on this top priority of their customers. The study did identify some variation by geography, with North American and U.K. consumers choosing service at a higher rate than average, while consumers in France and Spain ranked personalized purchase interactions above their peers in other countries.

“While there are variations from country to country, global customers are far more alike than they are different,” said James Bolle, VP, Head of Client Services, EMEA at InMoment.”

“They want brands to keep their promises and make an effort to personalize the support they offer across the entire customer journey. When brand promise delivery is aligned with customer expectations and being executed consistently, they should then look at investing in elements that surprise and delight.”

Methodology

The study included responses from 20,000 consumers and 10,000 brands from 12 countries, including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. The report tracks six benchmark questions and in addition, and explores the role of personalization and emotion in the brand-customer relationship. 

Webinar and Full Report

Wilkie and Bolle will host a free, live webinar on Tuesday, January 24 at 11 a.m. ET, 4 p.m. GMT. To register, click here

To download the 2017 CX Trends report, please visit the InMoment Library.

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