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The modern connected customer has concerns and demands that, in some ways, are quite different from what they were before the digital era. So are brands confident in how they serve them? Unfortunately, a survey from CMO Council and Worldwide Partners of more than 350 global marketing leaders has revealed that only one-fifth (20%) of organizations can definitively say, yes, they are prepared to take on the demands and needs of the modern customer.

About 3 in 5 (57%) marketing leaders say that one of the top critical demands of today’s connected customer is data security, privacy and accountability. While the use or misuse of personal data is not a new concern, high profile data breaches and sometimes-questionable personalization practices have meant that customers are starting to take action. This includes customers no longer buying from companies whose personalization practices cross the line into being ‘creepy’ or by taking steps that will decrease their digital footprint, such as by no longer shopping online and deleting their search histories.

The good news is, at least in the B2B sector, organizations are taking heed and taking the initiative to protect customer data – not only because customers expect it, but also because they see that it benefits the customer and their own business.

Always-On Service and Support Critical

A study from last year determined that marketing departments own the customer. This ownership goes beyond customer data and often includes, at the very least, collaborating with customer service to help meet the demands of the customers and, ultimately, acquire or retain those customers. Additionally, marketers are aware that one of the ways to cut through the noise and set themselves apart from the pack is to offer top-of-the-line customer service.

The CMO Council’s survey found that half (51%) of respondents felt that always-on service and support was another critical demand of the modern connected customer. With customers no longer satisfied with the standard customer service only available Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm, organizations have to branch out and utilize social media and technology to meet the need for 24/7 service and support.

However, while one survey found that 3 in 5 (60%) of consumers think that one of the most effective ways for brands to use social media is with customer service, the jury is still out on using technology such as chatbots for customer service.

Despite the majority of customers who say they use chatbots while shopping reporting being comfortable with using them for customer services purposes, not everyone is happy to use chatbots. A report from NICE inContact found that 4 in 5 customers (79%) say that chatbots need to get smarter before they use them, while 9 in 10 also say they prefer to interact with a live customer service agent.

Absence of Localization Impacts Engagement Negatively

Another critical demand of the modern customer, according to 43% of respondents, is a relevant experience based on regional or local language or culture. Although the majority (82%) of marketers surveyed believe their intelligence on local market behavior and trends is good or okay, there remain 1 in 10 who feel that their localized intelligence access is not good or horrible.

This lack of localization is proving to have a negative effect on customer engagement, with about 3 in 5 marketing leaders (57%) reporting that absence of localized intelligence has impacted customer relationships as well as marketing’s ability to carry out successful campaigns.

See the above chart for marketers’ views on the critical demands of the modern connected consumer, and download the report here to read more.

About the Data: The report is based on findings from a survey of more than 350 global marketing leaders with 52% being from B2B-focused companies and half from companies with more than $500 million in annual revenues.

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