Making the user comfortable with the technology is key to digital customer experience adoption, study IBM suggests

Customer experience

While many B2B and B2C companies are moving quickly to improve the online digital customer experience, a recent study from IBM suggests that not all consumers are as enthusiastic about those digital transformations.

Creating new digital ways to engage with consumers and expecting them to embrace it can put companies' investments at risk.

The study found that while the majority believe customers want to try new ways to engage with a company, what consumers are most concerned with getting quick, convenient and affordable results.

In other words, there's a disconnect between what executives think consumers want and what consumers actually want.

Of those respondents who say they have tried to explore products by using virtual reality, interactive digital displays in a company's physical store, or interacting with a device or computer via voice command, about 70% admit they were disappointed and decided not to use these digital initiatives regularly.

The IBV to digital customer experience adoption also found that executives are severely underestimating the role generational differences play in consumer adoption of new digital experiences.

When asked if customers' age would determine how quickly they'd adopt digital new customer experiences, only 38% of executives said they thought age would make a difference. The IBV then asked consumers a series of questions about specific types of digital customer experience initiatives being implemented by companies and found there were numerous instances when millennials, generation X, and baby boomers responded differently.

For example, while 24% of millennials regularly locate products with a company's mobile app when shopping, only 8% of baby boomers do so. And among the group of consumers who said they were familiar with companies' digital customer experience initiatives, but hadn't tried them, as many as 70 to 80% of baby boomers said it was because they weren't interested.

As a result of the study's findings, the IBV recommends that companies bear in mind that consumers want to engage with the brand in ways that are faster, easier or more convenient than traditional channels. One key factor is to recognize that age does matter. Companies should not stereotype individuals simply based on their age, but companies can build detailed customer profiles that will help determine the most successful customer experience initiatives.

Further, the study suggests that companies must make it easier for customers to interact with your brand. One of the core values of any digital customer experience transformation should be ease of use and simplicity. Customers have already formed ideas about and how easy it is to engage with and conduct transactions with individual businesses. Executives should conduct thorough research to understand what these expectations are and then test their new digital experience with customers to make sure it is simple to use and gives customers the flexibility they want.

By clearly promoting the benefits that customers value, such as time savings, convenience and faster results, companies also need to bring their innovations to market by clearly highlighting benefits that resonate with customers, which may require a roll-out strategy that includes plans for different customer segments. Otherwise they risk putting into jeopardy not only their investment in a new digital customer experience, but also their brand's image in the marketplace.

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