Scandinavian consumers engage the least with brands, study finds
Consumers in Norway, Sweden and Denmark engage the least with brands and business, with Turkish consumers engaging the most, a new report has found.
Being male, married and a millennial are the key traits of the most engaged customers, according to global research conducted into the relationships of more than 18,000 consumers with their bank, mobile phone provider and retailer.
The study, conducted by customer engagement specialist Affinion in partnership with Oxford Brookes University, set out to understand the factors that influence a customer’s overall engagement with a brand. It found that millennials (18 – 34 year olds) had the highest level of engagement with their bank, mobile phone provider and favourite retailer, with an overall ‘Customer Engagement Score’ ranging from 67 – 70. This shows that this age group reported a closer emotional attachment than older people, in particular the 65+ age range which had an overall score of 61.
The ‘Customer Engagement Score’ is a mark out of 100 which was developed as a metric from the research to show how engaged a consumer is based on their responses to a series of questions about their relationship with their bank, mobile phone provider and favourite retailer.
The report showed differences between married and single people, with married respondents reporting an average engagement score of 67, compared with 64 in singletons. When it comes to gender, male respondents reported a tighter bond with their banks (68) and mobile providers (65), while female respondents reported a stronger bond with their favourite retailers (69).
Looking at the global disparities, Turkish, Brazilian and American consumers were revealed to be the most engaged. Of the 13 countries involved in the research, these were the only ones to consistently exceed global metrics across all the industries, with an overall Customer Engagement Score of 70-72 out of 100. Scandinavian countries, Denmark, Finland and Norway, consistently reported the lowest levels of customer engagement, with scores ranging from 58-60. The UK secured an average combined score of 63 against the global average of 66.
UK country manager of Affinion, Karen Wheeler, said: “This research shows that customers with higher engagement scores are more likely to stay with a brand for longer, spend more and recommend an organisation to family and friends. Advocacy breeds advocacy, so turning customers into advocates should be a company’s ultimate goal. This is a significant lesson from which all businesses can learn and understanding how to drive up these engagement scores is crucial for businesses if they are to increase customer retention and ultimately drive business growth.
“Our study also proves that customers who buy additional products or services and interact more frequently via multiple channels are more engaged. But taking that further and offering products or services that add value to their daily lives is what will really help a company to build meaningful relationships with its customers.”
Professor in Marketing & Consumer Psychology at Oxford Brookes University, Janine Dermody, commented: “The relationship between a brand and its customers is complex, involving both emotional and rational thought processes that cover everything from attitudes and experiences, to trust, satisfaction and behavioural action.”
The fact that Brazil and Turkey consistently exceed the global metrics across all three industries, points towards the increasing presence and importance of emerging markets and their impact on global economic growth.”
Re-defining the economics of CX in the new customer journey
There’s no shortage of customer service channels for the enterprise to select from today. Regardless of the many new metrics that have emerged – such as customer success, or empathy – cost reduction is still a primary driver in selection criteria.
There are many articles dedicated to how companies can turn customer service and customer experience (CX) from a cost to a revenue centre. The problem is, if you stop there and don’t look beyond cost reduction, you’re limiting the scope for CX to become an even bigger economic contributor in the enterprise.
There is every opportunity for customer service and CX to significantly influence the front end of business, particularly amongst direct-to-consumer subscription-based products and services, such as popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, as well as sports subscription services like DAZN.
In these products and services and others, there are new customer journeys that may drive business growth and revenue. They start earlier and may last a lifetime, so getting things right at the start of the journey is key so that customers have the best experience from day one.
Not only will this help in making customers less likely to reach out for issues-based support further down the line, but these customers will be much less likely to churn, and much more likely to take up new services as they are offered throughout the lifetime journey.
So, what does the new customer journey look like for these services?
Opportunity waiting for the likes of Netflix & Disney
While consumers may have previously regarded customer service as a way to mitigate the inconveniences in their lives, the customer journey is expanding in scope every day. Today there are many more touchpoints available that put CX in a position to drive revenue.
For one-off purchases, traditional CX deployments have not changed significantly in the past few years. However, if you look at the change in the CX relationships we’re seeing with subscription-based products and services, particularly media-based streaming services, it’s clear that these companies lead what quickly become very multifaceted relationships with their customers. These have serious potential to evolve over time for increased economic benefit.
For any sort of subscription-based business, customer lifetime value is paramount, and the requirement to actively manage a continued positive customer experience is critical.
Every interaction is an opportunity, and every data point is a chance to offer more value. Introductory offers can convert to longtime customers. Longtime customers may take up opportunities to upgrade to more premium products or services. They may also appreciate incentives to invite family and friends to become customers. Consumers who like a particular service, for example, may appreciate a recommendation for another similar or complimentary service.
It all starts with customer interaction, and the customer experience journey becomes an opportunity to strategically affect the user base and resulting revenue - which is a far cry from the limitations of call center cost reduction or churn metrics.
How do companies support the new customer journey?
More and more, customers look at the new customer journey as engaging with brands as part of their lifestyles. Many companies are making brand ambassadors available before the traditional customer journey even starts, which is a marked change from a purely transactional relationship associated with a one-off purchase.
These ambassadors, who are often independent users of products or services, are providing trusted pre-sales advice, and that same trusted advice can also function to nurture the customer journey in a subscription-based relationship. Call it ‘GigCX’ or ‘crowdsourced customer service’ or even ‘peer-to-peer customer service’ - it doesn’t matter.
The key is in providing impartial, trusted advice from real users. Think about it: who would you rather get advice from? Someone who has used a product or service extensively, or someone who has been trained to provide customer service surrounding that product or service?
For services such as streaming media, advice from trusted experts with real product know-how could be invaluable. This may not be limited to technical issues, such as what to do when you can’t access your favourite show, or how to access services across various devices. It could be parents helping other parents who are concerned about how to restrict adult content from child viewers, or simply customers who have similar taste in programming who can comment on the benefits of upgraded or premium products. The point is, these experts are easily available at any touchpoint in the customer lifetime journey, creating more chances to add value.
It’s also about tipping customers from ‘passive’ to ‘promoter’ in the NPS scale. It’s an opportunity to turn neutral customers who may be vulnerable to competitive offerings into loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and referring others, fuelling growth. It may ultimately help drive even further revenue by creating customers that are helping to sell the brand itself.
And, while chatbots and automation may play a key role, they are often not able to handle the more complex support needed in the new customer journey. Conversational AI is rarely as conversational as it claims to be, and in the new customer journey, most companies are finding that a mix of automation and people-centric service is an ideal way to nurture the many new touchpoints created.
It’s no longer about trying to replace human capital with automation: it’s about orchestrating a uniquely personalised CX, and proactively engaging during the customer lifecycle to enhance the experience, and to create more long-term value.
At the moment, we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of the power to affect the economics introduced by the new customer journey. We’ll no doubt see this evolve rapidly particularly amongst streaming companies as they use human-centric connections in CX to support the full potential of customer lifetime value.
About Roger Beadle
Roger Beadle is an entrepreneur and business leader who is reinventing how customer service is delivered via the gig economy. After establishing several businesses in the contact centre industry, Roger co-founded Limitless with Megan Neale in 2016. Limitless is a gig-economy platform that addresses some of the biggest challenges faced by the contact center industry: low pay, high attrition and access to new talent. Previously, Roger and Megan helped to build one of the largest privately-owned outsourced contact center business in Europe, before selling the business to the global conglomerate Hinduja Group. Roger is an outspoken proponent of digital ethics, worker’s rights and the ‘good-gig:’ which encapsulates gig work for incremental pay versus full time work, skilled gig work, no unpaid time/downtime and zero expenses.
Named a Rising Star at Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 program, Limitless is a gig customer service platform, combining crowdsourcing and AI to help global businesses address their biggest customer service challenges – rising costs, increasing attrition, variability in demand and the need for diversity. Brands like Microsoft, Unilever, Daily Mail Group and Postmates are using Limitless’ SmartCrowdTM technology to connect with their most engaged customers, and reward them for providing on-demand customer service that can flex in line with demand. Limitless is one of the world’s first global tech platforms to introduce localised platform terms to protect the rights of its gigging workers. Backed by AlbionVC, Downing Ventures and Unilever Ventures, Limitless is empowering people worldwide to earn money for providing brilliant customer service for the brands they love.