Brands are falling below expectations in meeting consumer expectations for customer experience in Europe – and it’s having an impact on customer retention.
According to findings from Adobe’s Experience Index Report, which surveyed more than 3,000 consumers from across Europe on their expectations of brands across sectors, people cite an overcomplicated or time-consuming purchase process as their biggest turn off, with consumers from France (50%), the UK (43%), and Germany (41%) inclined to abandon their online shopping cart following a negative experience.
One in three consumers from France and the UK say they would never buy from a company again following a bad experience.
A poor customer experience has a significant impact on a brand’s reputation, too, with over a third (36%) of people across the three countries surveyed likely to discuss a poor brand experience with friends or family.
The report revealed the biggest expectation among consumers is more personalisation, with over two-thirds (68%) of German, French, and British consumers demanding personalised experiences both in-store and online. Augmented reality museum tours, loyalty programmes sending out test products, and retailers using voice activated tech in-store ranked as the experiences that dazzle and delight the most.
The research also uncovered a disconnect between the expectations of consumers and the experience they’re receiving. When asked to rate brands on the customer experience they’re currently receiving, the average score was 50% for German and French consumers, and 54% in the UK.
Complicated websites are the biggest turn off for consumers across France, Germany and the UK, with more than two-fifths (45%) stating this is the biggest barrier to a good customer experience.
Other pain points include brands not honouring their returns policy (27% of Brits); consumers having to re-input information online (23% of French) and companies sending consumers the wrong product (22% of Germans)
A generational and country divide revealed
The research also uncovered disparities between countries and ages when recognising the importance for how technology will improve consumers’ lives. In the UK, the biggest advocates of technological innovation were 18-24 year-olds, while in Germany, those most likely to celebrate advancement were, somewhat surprisingly, those aged over 65.
Automation was one area that seemed to unite opinion, with over half (57%) of consumers from across France, Germany, and the UK agreeing that, if done well, a completely automated experience can still delight them.
Meanwhile, the report found that older consumers crave more personal interactions, with more than two-thirds (67%) of those aged 65 and over in Germany, France, and the UK preferring to communicate with a human rather than a computer. This dropped to an average of 53% for 18-24 year-olds across the three countries, an age group that’s well-used to an almost exclusive digital customer experience.
John Watton, senior marketing director, Adobe explains: “Whether it’s retail, hospitality, travel or finance, brands are now operating in a buyer’s market where one bad experience can put consumers off for good. It means that Customer Experience Management is now an imperative for brands, so that they can effectively manage experiences across all points of interaction, whether it’s digital, in-store, or via a contact centre. AI-enabled analytics help brands master a cross-channel strategy and inform marketers about who each and every customer is, while automation ensures personalised experiences can be orchestrated at the right time and to the right devices at scale.”