Creating a frictionless purchase experience is crucial to customer satisfaction.
But don’t focus solely on convenient (but cold) efficiency at the expense of creating joy and wonder in your customers.
That’s just one of the insights from our latest chart. Read on to see the chart, along with personalization advice from Michele Eggers, Senior Director of Customer Intelligence for SAS, to help you create easier and more enjoyable purchase experiences for each and every customer.
(As seen in the MarketingSherpa Chart of the Week newsletter. Click to get a free subscription to the latest research and case studies from MarketingSherpa.)
We asked 2,400 American consumers, sampled to reflect a close match to the U.S. population's demographics, to name a company they were satisfied or unsatisfied with. We then asked …
Which of the following is true about [company name’s] marketing? Select all that apply.
(The chart will open in a new window, click and zoom to read the data.)
To see 35 more charts from the study, download the free report.
In the above chart, you can see not only how these aspects of marketing affect customer satisfaction, but also how they differed by gender.
Easy purchasing experience important, but enjoyable purchase experience is the biggest differentiator
“Purchasing experience (whether online or in person) is easy” was the top response for both satisfied and unsatisfied customers, and both men and women. Satisfied women were most likely to give this response (58%).
However, the biggest difference between satisfied and unsatisfied customer experiences was joy and wonder. Or put another way, satisfied women were 444% more likely to say the company’s “purchasing experience (whether online or in person) is enjoyable” than unsatisfied female customers.
Satisfied women may find more value in marketing and the purchase experience than satisfied men
Satisfied women selected both of the above-mentioned options more than satisfied men and also selected “Its marketing doesn’t just try to sell me but provides value.” Satisfied men were more likely to pick “Its marketing proactively tells me when a product is not the best solution for me.”
This suggests that the purchase experience — along with the marketing itself — is more important for satisfied women. And perhaps satisfied men simply don’t want to spend their time on marketing or the purchase process, and just want a quick answer.
Satisfied women and unsatisfied men most opinionated
For the satisfied group, women chose the surveyed options more frequently for seven of the options, while men were the more frequent responders for only two of the options. (One was a tie.)
However, in the unsatisfied group, the pattern was flipped. Men were the more frequent responders for eight of the responses, and women were the more frequent responders for only two.
This may suggest that when customers are satisfied, women are more likely to identify the reasons as well as be more opinionated about the reasons they are satisfied. However, for unsatisfied customers, men are more likely to identify the reasons and be opinionated on why they are unsatisfied.
Determine how granular you can get to serve your customers
Of course, gender is but one arbitrary characteristic we’ve chosen for this week’s chart (we have to narrow the data into broad segmentations for a chart, or it would become so complex it would be unreadable). And “experience” and “enjoyment” are general terms that can mean different things for different customers.
However, for your own brand, the real question you need to ask is — how deeply and intimately can you get to know your customer? How narrow can you get in your segmentation to provide an easy and enjoyable customer experience, which may vary greatly based on different customer segments and preferences?
“The more personalized and relevant brands can be with their interaction with an individual customer, the more likely there are to address their needs and wants. At that point, they become a more effective customer-first marketing organization,” said Michele Eggers, Senior Director of Customer Intelligence for SAS.
She provided two examples to get you thinking:
“They are focused on segments of one,” Eggers said. “Now that’s what I call customer-first marketing.”
The nitty gritty of personalization — test and learn
Great examples, but getting granular enough to use personalization to deliver easy and enjoyable purchasing experiences is no easy task. So I asked Eggers what advice should we give to marketers to get started or to take their segmentation activities to the next level.
“When you think about getting more personalized and segmented in your customer interactions, don’t overengineer it before you get out the door. Test and learn. Test and learn. Test and learn. See what is working, see what isn’t. And, then adapt,” Eggers advised.
“So, for example, if you are trying to personalize that purchase experience, and learn that a key segment (say, females) aren’t converting on the offer or action you were testing … test a different approach. Does that improve? I strongly believe that the more you test and learn, the more micro your segments will be, and the more relevant your personalization will become,” Eggers said.
Keep the end goal in mind
None of this is easy. When you’re engaged in personalization or segmentation, streamlining purchase experiences or creating an enjoyable omnichannel journey — things can get deep. Complex. Very quickly.
You might find yourself engaged in extensive project plans, reformatting legacy systems, combining databases, ensuring CRM procedures are followed, trying to track both online and offline behavior, vendor selection, system implementation, and on and on and on.
When you’re slogging through all of this, it’s easy to lose sight of the core reason all of these systems and processes, technology and databases are there to begin with. To serve the customer.
“The common thread among thriving brands is that they’re putting the customer first,” Eggers said.
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