Wired Canadians… why businesses must change to meet expectations
Ever wonder what Canadians expect from your business? Wonder no more, my friend! Microsoft, in partnership with YouGov, commissioned market research to uncover what consumers around the world (including Canada) expect from businesses when buying goods and services.
The published study, “Consumer Expectations,” targets a global audience. However, in this post, we focus exclusively on the answers provided by 1000 Canadian survey respondents.
Although no one can deny the growth of online shopping, sixty percent of Canadians still prefer to interact with a human being when purchasing products and services. Young adults aged 18 to 24 choose to shop online by nearly a two-to-one ratio versus their Baby Boomer parents (aged 55+).
Email for customer support
Email certainly has its uses. It resonates as a primary communication channel for Canadian consumers as part of a post-purchase customer experience. Most businesses get kudos and complaints from customers. If you receive an email from a customer, reply to them by the same channel.
Canadians like email. 75 percent feel every business needs a professional “contact us” email. 69 percent prefer email for news and updates. And 33 percent prefer to give feedback by email.
Mobile-optimized website on point
If your website isn’t mobile-optimized by now, what are you waiting for? 84 percent of Canadian consumers believe it’s important for a business to have a mobile-optimized website to stay competitive. The future is now. 60 percent of young adults interact and transact exclusively from their mobile phone.
When was the last time you visited your website on a smartphone? 84 percent of Canadians expect a business’ website to function as well on mobile as desktop.
Calling reigns supreme
Amongst consumers in participating countries, a phone call trumps other channels of communication when booking appointments. Here in Canada, 55 percent prefer making appointments by talking to a live person on the phone. When digging deeper in the data, it’s clear that young adults might eventually tip the scale in favour of booking online.
Relevant offers & content
Almost two thirds of Canadian consumers surveyed (62 percent) expect that a business should remember them. According to the report, consumers reward businesses that listen to their needs and meet their expectations. In fact, 56 percent want businesses they covet to anticipate their needs. Now, that’s the power of business intelligence.
Watch the clock! 88 percent of Canadians expect businesses to respond to inquiries in a timely manner
There’s a lot of talk about the importance of having an omnichannel customer experience, which means offering customers a consistent brand experience across multiple communication channels like telephone, internet, social media, etc.
How to get started
So, where do you start? How much effort is required? Who can help you develop a personalized customer journey? Simple! A Microsoft digital transformation specialist or one of several local Microsoft Certified Partners can help.
Six key takeaways
In conclusion, this research offers some valuable insights for anyone who owns and/or manages a business and wants to meet consumer expectations:
1) Your digital customer experience should be consistently as great (if not better) than your retail customer experience.
2) Invest the time to create a mobile experience for your customers and make sure your website works properly on phones.
3) Assess each customer communication channel your business relies on and establish standards.
4) Personalize your customer experience because your competitor is already doing so.
5) Customers still want newsletters, special offers, and customer service follow-ups through email.
6) Respect your customers desire to book appointments by phone and try to deliver an exceptional customer experience when you do.