Harris Poll Study Commissioned by Lithium Finds Great Customer Experience Means More to Consumers than Great Products
What makes customers happy? And what’s a happy customer worth? Eighty-three percent of U.S. consumers say having a positive customer experience with a brand is more important than the product itself, a new study by Harris Poll of 2,000 respondents reveals. Consumers are willing to spend one-third of their disposable income – $100 per month on average – with brands they love based on a great customer experience. That’s around $31 billion up for grabs every month to brands who make their customers happy.
Experience Over Product
Brands work relentlessly on product design and features, but today’s consumer increasingly values how a brand treats them as more important than the product they sell. The Lithium-commissioned study found 43 percent of consumers would actually buy an inferior product from a brand that they had a great experience with, and 73 percent will spend more on a product if it is from a brand they love. But this works both ways, with 71 percent of consumers unlikely to ever use a brand again after only one bad experience. Worse, 44 percent would share their negative experience with friends and family, potentially leading to even more customers fleeing.
Value of A Happy Customer
The following Lithium infographic summarizes the major findings and insights from the Harris Poll:
Click Image To Enlarge
And checkout what people on the street had to say about what a great experience with a brand meant to them:
Rob Tarkoff, President and CEO of Lithium Technologies says.
“Customers’ increasingly high expectations of brands have reached a critical point. When two-thirds of consumers say they are unwilling to stick with a brand that has treated them badly even if they love the brand’s products, it’s time to sit up and take notice. Brands need to dig deeper to understand how they can create awesome experiences for their customers across platforms.”
What’s A Brand To Do?
Brands can no longer dictate terms. They must connect with the customer in the channel of their choice, which is increasingly digital. The study reveals 29 percent of consumers prefer to engage with a brand via its website/blog/social channels, compared to 17 percent who prefer in-store engagement, and 16 percent who prefer to connect over email.
“This study shows that as consumers reach out on digital channels, they are highly sensitive to how and when brands respond to them. It’s a wakeup call for brands to realize that providing great experiences on digital is the surest path to attracting and retaining happy customers.”
Path To Happy Customers
Harris Poll, on behalf of Lithium, conducted the “Value of a Happy Customer” survey of over 3,000 adults in the United States and the United Kingdom to help us understand what it really takes to make customers happy today.
Here are a few of the highlights:
- 86% of adults in the U.S. and 74% of adults in the U.K. say they are willing to spend more on products and services from a brand they love.
- 71% of adults in the U.S. and 64% of adults in the U.K. would share a positive experience with other consumers
- After one bad experience, 71% of adults say they would likely never use that brand again.
- 55% of adults admit they place more value on a positive experience with a brand than on the product purchased.
Key findings from this survey include:
- An Emotional Connection Matters - People tend to have love/hate relationships with brands. Savvy brands today understand that creating an emotional connection with customers is the best way to keep them in the “love” zone. The majority of adults surveyed said that they would be likely to spend more on products and services from a brand that makes them happy (80%), a brand they love (80%), and a brand to which they are loyal (80%). The message is clear: when a brand is able to create an emotional connection with consumers, a stronger sense of loyalty results.
- A Digital First Mindset - When consumers need to search for something specific, they flock to digital – especially via their mobiles phones – to do it. The same can be said about how consumers engage with brands. A brand’s website, blog, or social channels are typically the first stop when searching for information about products and services. About one-third of adults say they are likely to spend more on products and services from a brand that communicates with them (32%) and shares entertaining and engaging content with them (31%) via social media.
- No Such Thing as Second Chances - As consumer expectations become increasingly intense, brands have got only one shot to make a good first impression. Otherwise, customers will gladly move on. They no longer have to tolerate a bad brand experience. Over 8 in 10 adults (83%) say they would stop using a brand after one bad experience while nearly 9 out of 10 adults (87%) agree that they would look elsewhere if a brand made them unhappy in any way.
COMMENTARY: In-store shopping beats the e-commerce experience across numerous customer service and relationship measures, while online shopping wins for research and pricing, according to the results of a survey of consumers who have used their mobile devices to shop. The survey, conducted by Dimensional Research and sponsored by Wanderful Media, identified several shopping-related activities and asked respondents whether they thought those experiences were better in-store or online.
Respondents more often chose the in-store option for measures such as a great customer service (40% vs. 16%), having their questions answered (50% vs. 13%), and establishing a relationship with the merchant (51% vs. 12%).
The biggest gap in favorability, though, was for the ease of making a return (64% in-store vs. 12% online). Frustrations with the return experience certainly appear to plague online shoppers, per results from a ShopRunner survey conducted by Harris Interactive. About 7 in 10 online shoppers surveyed feel that returning items purchased online is a complicated process, while an even greater proportion (81%) said they are not likely to make additional purchases from websites that charge shipping on returns.
Online Shopping Makes the Grade for Research, Savings
Further details from the Wanderful Media survey suggest that consumers who use mobile devices to shop may favor the customer experience in-store, but they prefer the research and savings possibilities offered online. The online shopping experience was overwhelming favored for the breadth of information available to research purchases (71% vs. 12%), the ease of finding a specific item (59% vs. 14%), and getting the best price (57% vs. 11%), among others.
Store Browsing Leads to Impulse Purchases
Notably, respondents were far more likely to favor the online path for discovering a previously unknown product (40% vs. 16%). Still, more respondents had made an impulse purchase in the last month in a store than had done so online (74% vs. 65%), suggesting that while they find new products online, they’re more likely to try something new while shopping in a store.
In fact, browsing in a store (60%) was the leading driver of impulse purchases among respondents, ahead of email promotions (42%) and window shopping (36%). Interestingly, newspaper circulars (23%) influenced more shoppers than social media channels such as Facebook (22%), Twitter (13%) and Pinterest (13%).
9 in 10 Have Visited a Store Due to An Online Experience
Of the shoppers surveyed, the vast majority (91%) said that something they have done online has spurred them to visit a store. Emails held the biggest sway: 60% said they had visited a store after receiving an email about a special price or promotion. Close behind, finding a coupon (59%), seeing an online ad for a sale (56%), searching for a product and finding a store location (55%), and browsing an online circular (52%) also did the trick for a majority.
- Of various factors that may contribute to a positive experience when shopping in-store, respondents named the absence of shipping charges (64% citing as “very important”), the ease of making a return (60%), the ability to touch, smell, and see the item to be purchased (55%), and getting the item immediately (55%) as the most important.
- To get the most positive online shopping experience, respondents were most likely to say that the ability to compare prices from a broad range of sources (63% citing as “very important”), the depth of information to research purchases (59%), and the ability to stay home to shop (54%) were very important.
- Generally speaking, respondents preferred buying books, gifts, and consumer electronics online, and clothes, personal care products, shoes, and furniture in a store.
About the Data: The Wanderful Media data is based on an online survey conducted in December 2012 of 1027 consumers. All participants live in the United States and use a mobile device for shopping. 62% of respondents are female and a plurality (40%) are aged 36-50.
The ShopRunner survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive from December 7-11, 2012 among 3,036 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and, therefore, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
Courtesy of an article dated March 20, 2017 appearing in Lithium.com and an article dated March 30, 2017 appearing in MarketingProfs and an article dated December 17, 2012 appearing in Marketing Charts
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