IBM study shines light on customer experience shortfalls

April 28, 2015 Written by NetSphere Category: User Experience
IBM study shines light on customer experience shortfalls

How well do you think you know your customers? According to a recent study, probably not as well as you think.

IBM’s study, developed by Econsultancy, a firm that specializes in helping clients with digital business, marketing and eCommerce, surveyed marketers, 90 percent of whom said that in order to be successful, they need to personalize customer experiences in their marketing campaigns. It appears that only 10 percent of these marketers are doing it right because 80 percent of consumers who responded said they aren’t understood as individuals.

Statistics show the gap between perception and reality

Digging into the results of the study a little more, we find that nearly 70 percent of companies think they offer a superior online experience, but 51 percent of consumers say they actually had a bad online experience. All but 19 percent of companies say they’re offering a holistic experience to consumers, but only 37 percent of consumers say their favorite retailers have a clear understanding of who they are.

One of the widest disparities in the study concerns the ability to satisfy conflicts with customers. The results show that 89 percent of companies said they are satisfied with their ability to resolve conflict. However, over the last 12 months only 28 percent of consumers said their experiences with companies in conflict resolution were “very effective.”

Finding the inconsistencies

There is obviously a disconnect somewhere. According to the study, one explanation could be the inability of marketers to link their offline and online customer experiences. For instance, most of the money being made by companies is through offline channels, but consumers are doing the bulk of their research online, which suggests inconsistency in how brands manage their online to offline channels.

Another disconnect exists in follow-through; despite the fact that almost all marketers say offering a personalized customer experience is important to the success of their brand, only 37 percent say they have the tools to provide the kind of customer experience consumers expect.

Establishing deeper understanding of consumer behavior

Some industries are a little more challenged than others when it comes to offering consistently good customer experiences. These industries include Internet, satellite/cable, banking and mobile providers. Forty-nine percent of consumers said they changed service providers in the last 12 months due to factors related to customer experience.

An IBM commerce manager notes that the customer has control, but instead of viewing this as a threat, marketers should see this as an opportunity to engage with consumers “like never before.” The key is in digging into data and finding “specific behavior patterns” in the various channels consumers use, thereby giving brands an opportunity to become a trusted partner.

Trust is paramount to success

The ability to gain full access into the behavior of consumers is limited, somewhat, by their permission for you to access their geographical data. IBM’s study found that when a brand delivers on experiences, they gain trust from their customers. When it comes to a consumer’s relationship with an average company, only 38 percent say they are willing to share their geographic location with brands, and only 37 percent would be willing to do the same but with their personally identifiable information attached.

However, when it comes to brands they truly trust, the percentage goes to 72 and 61 percent, respectively. An executive at Econsultancy said the challenge is in “providing the right experience for the right person at the time that’s right for them.” Marketers must, therefore, have command of the marriage between the right technology and the marketing prowess required. When they do, they’ll be better able to deliver the personalized experience that results in positive level of trust.

Finding that marriage can be difficult, which is why Netsphere Strategies wants eCommerce companies to take note of what we have to offer. From consulting to development leadership to analytics and software support – we can deliver solutions that develop trust among your customers. Contact us today for more information. 


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Abbe Miller is the marketing manager at NetSphere Strategies, located just outside Chicago. NetSphere Strategies is a boutique eCommerce company positioned to help businesses transform their online presence by providing a full complement of services that starts with our strategic consulting and creative design teams, then continues with building innovative solutions and providing ongoing post-project support.