Consumers Want Control Of The Brand Experience

Marketers still need to learn how to release and relax, handing off the controls to consumers after optimizing campaigns from search to social in an effort to improve the experience.

Survey findings released this week from the CMO Council, in partnership with SAP Hybris, almost seem like a mass of contradictions. Consumers say they don't care if they engage with brands offline or online -- they want service and experience wherever they go. For instance, 42% say they connect in lots of different ways and prefer to "mix it up depending on where they are or what they want," keeping brands on their toes.

About 18% of the 2,000 consumers participating in the study say they engage with brands in a variety of ways, but if there is a problem with the order they will pick up the phone.

The overall message: Keep it simple, even when spearheading an omnichannel campaign. Some 58% of consumers participating in the survey prefer to connect with brands on their website; 52%, email; 46%, phone; 30%, in person; 29%, word of mouth; 17%, direct mail; 27%, social media; and 27%, traditional advertising. Only 15% expect brands to be everywhere.



Consumers say adding speed and value are most important when it comes to brands providing an exceptional experience and responding to issues, complaints or needs regardless of the channel.

Customers want recognition, but they don't need it all the time and at every turn. Some 52% say they want rapid response times; 47%, knowledgeable staff; 42%, rewards for loyalty; 38%, a live person to speak with; 38%, information where and when needed; and 31%, easy-to-use tools and services options.

Consumers know they are in control of when, where and how they connect with brands, but they also want to keep it simple. They don't expect brands to be everywhere and they don't need a lot of frills and thrills, but they want to be recognized as loyal customers.

Some 37% of consumers say they are frustrated at seeing prices increases without value, 36% are angered when they are not treated like a loyal customer, and only 7% care that it still feels like they do business with one brand online and another offline.

When asked whether brands deliver on the most important aspects of the experience, 38% of consumers say they are almost there; 25% say yes; 22% say yes but only in digital; 11 say no, they struggle, and 4% say no, they are a long way off.

Some 47% say they will stop doing business with brands that frustrate them, and 45% will spend their money with other brands. 

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