How Technology is Changing Consumer Expectations

Can you believe the World Wide Web is only 32 years old, the iPhone is 14, and Uber is only 11 years old?

Technology has advanced unprecedently over the last few decades and is impacting the way we live our lives. Here are just six ways in which technology is changing consumer expectations, and how businesses should be adapting:

1. Instant Gratification

Consumer’s attention spans are reducing significantly, as technology improves we are becoming used to getting instant satisfaction of our needs. Long gone are the days of dial-up internet, now with just a few clicks we have an Uber picking us up, Deliveroo to our door and Google Maps guiding our way.
This instant gratification has reduced our average attention span from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2015; this is now less than the average attention span of a goldfish which is 9 seconds.
Therefore, companies are having to get inventive in grabbing consumer’s attention and relaying their advertising message fast! Minimal reading and lot’s of imagery is often needed to convey a brand’s USP quickly and impactfully. Plus, when you have them as customers, you have to be able to satisfy them quickly, the use of apps, good customer service and simple start-up procedures are useful tools to make sure your customers don’t walk away!

2. Personalisation

Due to this need for quick, impactful marketing and instant satisfaction, programmatic marketing uses automation to provide personalized, real-time, proactive and reactive marketing to the right people at the right time.
In today’s technical age consumers interact with the digital landscape in micro-moments, using their smartphones alone an average of 150 x per day. To capture one of these micro-moments for your brand it is important to personalise your marketing message to each consumer group. E.g. changing the message for their demographic or where they are on the consumer journey, i.e. have they visited your website, have they already made a purchase or is this the first interaction they are having with your brand?

Programmatic advertising allows you to understand this process and change your marketing approach accordingly. Better still technology can use the customer’s specific name to really grab their attention.

3. Less Loyalty

A recent study by Accenture found that 78% of consumers say they retract their loyalty faster today than few years ago. With so many easily available alternatives, sticking with one brand is becoming less and less common. Therefore, brands have to be constantly updating and looking at new ways to add value for their current customers in order to keep them. Make sure you deliver on your promises, offer specialist support and quick satisfaction of their needs.

4. 24/7 Customer Support

According to a research conducted by Everest Group, today over 50% of call centre contracts are actioned onshore in Australia, in 2010 this was just 35%. Showing that there has been a significant priority shift within most companies in the last few years in favour of customer experience over reduced costs.
Increased competition and less customer loyalty means customer retainment is becoming increasingly important. Even paying the higher wages and taxes of an Australia based call-centre is becoming more beneficial than off-shore call centres because maintaining profitable relations with existing clients is proving more cost-effective than trying to attract new clients.
Chatbots are also becoming a popular alternative, talking to people who are surfing your website and answering their question immediately is a sure way to improve customer experience. Limiting the time consumers spend finding the information they need increases the likelihood of a sale. However, technology is not advanced enough yet to mean chatbots are an alternative to complicated customer issues, in these circumstances speaking person to person, over the phone or even in person, will always provide better customer satisfaction.

5. Price Match Guarantee

Search engines and the rising amount of websites such as Compare the Market, Rental Cars, Trivago and Skyscanner, allow customers to directly compare products and services from a wide range of companies before making a purchase decision. This is leading to a growing consumer expectation that companies can be flexible with their offering to match their competitors. Consumers are being offered everything they want on the one site so can now demand this from the one company.

6. Everyone’s an Expert, so we need to be Specialist

The 21st Century has been dubbed ‘The Age of Knowledge’, with ‘Just google it’ becoming a familiar phrase in our vocabulary, the human race has become used to getting instant information on any subject under the sun.
This means that ‘everyone is an expert’ or at least can quickly look up information on a product before they buy it so that they think they are an expert. This can be tricky for the everyday salesperson. However, this is also an opportunity. With so much information available who us the trusted? You hopefully!
Being prepared for the more informed customer and answering their questions as a specialist in your given field will go a long way towards building trust and ultimately sales.

In conclusion, technology is drastically changing consumer expectations, especially when it comes to time. Quick and easy satisfaction and support is key to gaining and retaining customers, and the good news is, technology can be used to solve these issues. Call-centres, chatbots, apps, programmatic marketing are just a few solutions that, implemented effectively, can accommodate for these changing consumer expectations.