Blog · 26 Jan 2018

How well do you know your consumers around the globe?

Customer expectations are crucial in determining the service you need to provide to deliver satisfaction, so it's vital to understand global variations.

Practice director, customer experience

Do you know how your customers feel about using the different channels of communication open to them to get in touch with you?

It’s tempting to focus on the meteoric rise of 'chat'-based messaging (such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Google Talk) and create a strategy that makes the most of this communication channel… but what if you’re a global operator? Are customer communication preferences the same around the world?

Our latest tranche of consumer behaviour tracking research across ten countries reveals the truth behind the average figures — a startling difference in certain key areas.

What nurtures loyalty amongst your customers?

What stands out from this research is the extent to which German consumers are most likely to be loyal to organisations because they feel like individuals. And this focus on individualism is balanced out by a lack of engagement with social media amongst this group. Only 23 per cent would use Facebook or Twitter to contact an organisation regarding an urgent issue versus the global average of 46 per cent. They’re also less likely to use social media to buy products. Could this be because they aren’t getting the individual, personalised experience they’re looking for?

When it comes to loyalty, it’s common knowledge that it leads to repeat service. Perhaps surprisingly though, it’s the demanding US consumer who is most likely to reward outstanding customer service by buying from the company again in the future. It’s similar to the situation in China, where every customer is practically a customer for life: 86 per cent of consumers stick to brands they like.

What about digital technology in store?

Although the UK is leading the way for online shopping, it’s a fairly global phenomenon now that consumers want a digital experience in store as well as online.

Some great examples of this are the three immersive retail showcases we have globally — located in Milan, New York and Adastral Park — which bring digital store transformation to life and demonstrate the possibilities through digital innovation. Going by the name ‘Alexander Black’, these showcases highlight how integrating digital solutions can deliver a more immersive and engaging store environment for customers, helping boost loyalty and grow sales.

However, some countries are more ready to embrace the digital experience than others. Consumers from the Netherlands appear to be a bit behind, being the least likely to scan products in store using their smartphone to find better prices online. Belgians are also engaged with physical stores, resulting in a lower likelihood to research online prior to buying.

How important is security?

Clearly security is a priority around the world, but consumers in South Africa are more concerned about security than the rest. They are most likely to worry about security when giving organisations their contact details over the phone. As a result, 75 per cent like the idea of using technologies which identify them by their voice to save time and increase security, versus the global average of 59 per cent. It prompts the question: are you making the most of new technologies to ease the security concerns of your consumers?

How do you encourage consumer trust?

As well as being one of the most advanced countries in terms of online purchasing, UK consumers are also the least likely to trust online reviews, with 58 per cent saying they don’t always trust the reviews found on the likes of TripAdvisor and Trustpilot.

Positive steps to encourage trust between customers may be the answer, as it is in China. Chinese consumers rely heavily on other customers’ reviews, with 90 per cent (versus a 62 per cent global average) more likely to purchase products rated highly by online reviews. And unsurprisingly, they are far more likely to contribute their own reviews, too.

Find out what they really want

Globally, organisations are failing to recognise important inter-country differences and preferences. As a result, they’re missing out on opportunities to maximise their relationship with consumers. How aware are you of how your customers feel around the globe?

Read our new white paper to further explore the technologies and trends which are transforming the experience customers from around the globe expect.