Post-digital customer

Preview of extracts from the ‘Postdigital Customers’ Report

Extract 1: 4 insights into how digital has changed customers

Digital has driven a permanent and irreversible shift in customer behaviours, expectations, attitudes and loyalties:

  1. Customers have been empowered by digital and taught how to use this power (think of the smartphone as ‘a seminar in your pocket’). They love the direct, 24/7 access to brands, networks and platforms that digital has given them; but are increasingly aware this has not come without cost.
  2. Customers want to be respected by the brands they do business with, and treated as equals, not patronised. They don’t want to be taken for granted or ‘label-ed’, but expect to be dealt with ‘on my terms’ (which includes being left alone). They know their custom gives them power (‘It’s my money they’re after’), so they expect brands to hear and act, not ‘listen’.
  3. Customers are more assertive about what is – and is not – acceptable. This is most evident online, though the increased expectations that digital has driven are carried over offline. Customers are less tolerant of poor service, errors or incompetence, and expect ‘the experience’ to be good.
  4. Customers are more marketing-savvy and understand the value of the information about them that digital gives brands. They expect this to be well used and, increasingly, get riled when that is not the case: for example, customers are at risk of being turned off by ‘advanced’ digital marketing (see extract 2). GDPR could well be a game-changer here.

Extract 2: Customers’ concerns about brands’ use of digital.

People love all the good things that digital has brought. However, there is growing evidence of concerns around the way brands use digital. This goes beyond generic concerns related to digital around privacy, security, data use, etc., though these are linked.

Customers know that digital gives brands loads of information about them. They are reasonably comfortable with this – so long as brands use their information intelligently and well. (The opposite is also true, and there is an important GDPR implication here.)

What increasingly riles customers, though, is when, for example:

  • their information is not well used, or only as and when it suits the brand;
  • feedback is constantly requested (‘it’s important to us’) but not acted on;
  • digital marketing keeps following them around the internet;
  • when they can’t buy things without having to give loads of personal data;
  • when personalisation crosses what Google termed ‘the creepy line’;
  • online doesn’t work as well as customers know it can and should.

What we realised is that, once you tune into this low-level, background hum of customer irritation, you hear it everywhere…and it’s getting louder.

‘Post-digital Customers’: a major new study

We wanted to understand more about post-digital customers – their lives, behaviours, expectations, attitudes and loyalties – and how, in this new, post-digital context, they view themselves as ‘customers’.

Our ground-breaking study – combining ethnography, journalism, film and photography, with in-home interviews and large-scale new research – will be published in early 2018.

Request a copy of the ‘Post- digital Customers’ report

Download our presentation from the 2017 Customer Summit


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