Technology is raising customer standards at a breakneck pace

State of the Connected Customer Insights from 6,700+consumers and business buyers on the intersection of experience, technology,and trust by Salesforce Research

The “State of the Connected Customer” report, by Salesforce Research surveyed over 6,700 consumers and business buyers worldwide to discover:

  • How customers’ expectations of companies   are changing
  • Which emerging technologies are influencing   the future of customer experience
  • Why customer trust is increasingly important, and how companies can foster it

The research found that rising generations take for granted that they can order almost anything by just talking to a device. But their parents remember when mail-order catalogues were the norm. Suffice to say, technology is raising customer standards at a breakneck pace.

For businesses,there’s more focus than ever on going beyond the expected product or service,to deliver a customer experience that truly differentiates.

But while expectations for personalized, connected experiences are soaring, trust in companies to responsibly handle the data they require is bottoming out.

With more choice, more access to information, and less incentive to be loyal, today’s customers are firmly in control of their relationships with companies.Consumers and business buyers alike seek differentiated experiences based on trust and understanding and will shop around to find them. Eighty percent of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services.

Key findings from the research

Customer Expectations Hit All-Time Highs  

From product recommendations to proactive service, customers expect engagement that’s uniquely personalized. What’s more, customers are looking for interactions that are connected and contextualized at every turn. Seventy percent of customers say connected processes are very important to winning their business.

Companies Face a New Connected Mandate

As technology evolves at a head-spinning pace, customers have been conditioned to expect newer and better experiences. Customers are far more likely to view various emerging technologies as revolutionary, rather than hyped, with artificial intelligence (AI) playing an increasingly prominent role in their daily lives.Fifty-six percent of customers actively seek to buy from the most innovative companies.

Technology Sets New Benchmarks for Innovation

Delivering personalized experiences requires a data-driven, 360-degree view — but more than half of respondents are uncomfortable with how their data is used. Customers say companies can earn their trust by taking certain steps, such as giving them control over how their data is applied and being transparent with how it’s used. Eighty-six percent of customers are more likely to trust companies with their relevant information if they explain how it provides a better experience.

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