SalesForce, a US-headquartered cloud-based software company, has come up with the third edition of the 'State of Connected Customer' report. The study focusses on continuous shift in consumer expectations, emerging technologies that are transforming standards for engagement, the role of trust in customer relationships along with the rising importance of corporate values in buying decisions.
According to the report, 84 per cent of the customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services, which interestingly is up from 80 per cent in 2018. Similarly, 73 per cent of customers say one extraordinary experience raises their expectations of other companies and 66 per cent of customers are willing to pay more for a great experience. Today, consumers expect companies to be available anytime and anywhere.
Talking about the preferred channels for communication, 40 per cent of customers said that they won't do business with a company if they can't use their preferred channels. And 55 per cent of customers - including 68 per cent of millennials/Gen Zers - prefer digital channels over traditional ones.
India specific insights highlight that 92 per cent of customers expect companies to use new technologies to create better experiences for customer engagement. 89 per cent of customers in India expect companies to interact with them in real time. 69 per cent of Indian customers will not buy from a company that doesn't value equality. 90 per cent of customers are open to using AI to improve their experience. And 70 per cent of customers in India have stopped buying from a company that did something distrustful with 51 per cent of customers agreeing that companies don't care about the security of their data. For Indians, the most preferred channel of communicating was mobile app followed by online chat/live support, online communities, voice assistants and lastly text/SMS.
Sunil Jose, Senior Vice President and Country Leader, Salesforce India, says, "Technological innovations have changed the face of modern customer engagement. Today's customers are much more selective about which brands they prefer. Businesses are realising that a company's trustworthiness is inextricably tied to its bottom line. Companies that put trust and customer experience at the heart of their engagements gain something much more enticing: competitive differentiation."
The study had a sample size of over 8000 consumers and business buyers worldwide, of which the Indian sample size was of 535 customers. The survey was conducted between April 2-18, 2019, with individuals participating from Australia/ New Zealand, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, the United Kingdom/ Ireland, and the United States.