Brands are stuck in digital rut even as consumers demand better experiences, study says

Digital

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape where new platforms and capabilities are popping up every day, companies are often unable to continually meet the needs of digitally-savvy consumers who expect brands to keep up with the pace of change. In fact, a recent report that Accenture Interactive conducted in partnership with Forrester Consulting states that while “brand executives talk the talk of digital transformation,” they often fall short when it comes to execution.

The study - which was based off of findings from 702 online surveys and 11 “in-depth” interviews with customer experience decision makers - states that even as customers increasingly “expect (and even demand) easy, frictionless, and personalized experiences in their moments of need,” many companies are “slipping increasingly further behind despite significant efforts to catch up.”

This is partly because brands are too focused on comparing themselves with one another when it comes to digital experiences instead of worrying about how their target consumers are responding to their efforts, according to the research.

For example, 74 per cent of respondents believe that “digital is reinventing the overall experience that they deliver to customers.” However, the study found that “complacency is evident when comparing how brands benchmark themselves against their direct competition,” citing the fact that while more than half of respondents believe that they are ahead of their competitors when it comes to providing digital experiences, only seven percent think that they are actually exceeding customer expectations.

The research also found that consumer demands in the digital sphere are advancing at a rate that is difficult for companies to keep up with. In 2015, 78 per cent of respondents agreed that they had processes and technology in place to execute a digital strategy. Yet in 2016, only 69 per cent said that they have the proper technology while only 66 percent said that they have the right processes.

In the report, a total of 17.8 per cent of companies were identified as “customer experience high performers.” These respondents reported that they are able to meet or exceed expectations for customer experience 91 per cent of the time, 21 percentage points higher than their peers. Their efforts reportedly help them achieve higher rates of success across other metrics, including customer loyalty, revenues and cost savings.

For companies lagging behind when it comes to meeting customer expectations and are looking to transform their digital experience efforts, the report recommends taking the following steps: rally senior support; adapt to a dynamic state of constant flux; turn data into insight into measurable action; and pick partners, not vendors.

The full report can be viewed here.

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