Technology will change the world!
For us Silicon Valley types, this is a belief system that has held true since coming to this land of dreams and putting down our roots here. Today as I see Google Glass being used by my neighbor, and that ubiquitous smartphone enabling each aspect of our lives, I look forward with anticipation to the next generation of talking robots and a fully automated smart homes.
However there seems to be a discontinuity in technology evolution when it comes to customer experience! Why is it that when I need any kind of touch point with an enterprise providing me with everyday goods and services, where my simple expectation is resolution of a problem or question, that the experience is simply exasperating 9 out of 10 times? In that one instance when my expectations are met, I am increasingly surprised. Who cannot remember calling the phone company and being asked the same set of questions 3 times, and trying a transaction with a bank over one’s mobile and being rejected and then having to call the bank and being put on hold. How about trying to find what you need at the local Home Depot, how long does it take to find a person who can help you? What about social media? If you complain there, are they able to resolve the problem to your satisfaction? Why has our prowess in technology not solved the customer experience problem?
In all the instances above, if one were to think through a solution, that solution is certainly not out of bounds from a technology perspective. Are we simply not worried about customer experience? Does the enterprise not have to meet the basic expectation of its customers?
According to a report by Adobe, online retailers spend 78% of their marketing budget on search and display advertising, which is more suitable for acquiring new customers, compared to the 22% of their budget they invest in media that are better suited for marketing to returning purchasers and repeat purchasers, such as email and social media. Findings of the report revealed that although shoppers, including those who don’t necessarily make a purchase, generate the most site visits and consume the bulk of marketing budgets, they do not generate proportional amounts of revenue. While returning and repeat purchasers comprise only 8% of the site visitors, they generate 40% of online sales in the U.S. Additionally, marketers in the U.S. must bring in FIVE shoppers to equal the revenue of ONE repeat customer, the report added. Imagine the increase in revenue if the bulk of the budget was devoted to marketing strategies that focus on high quality customer experience that lead to retention of the returning and repeat purchasers.
In a world of the connected customer, where the consumer is the protagonist and influencer, this does not make sense. The business case for experience looms much stronger than the case for brute force acquisition. There is a call to action here for the sake of each of us who represent those protagonists!