Digital + Physical: Omnichannel Customer Expectations

Revisit our on demand webinar exploring CX measurement strategies designed to optimize a true omnichannel customer understanding.

The author(s)

  • Stephanie Bannos-Ryback Executive Vice President, CX
  • Kimberley Campbell Vice President, US, Customer Experience
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American shoppers altered their shopping habits and expectations in response to an unprecedented pandemic. Now, customers in 2022 expect consistency across engagement channels and fluidity in their path to purchase. As the COVID limbo eases and more Americans say it is no longer a crisis, companies are learning just how much customers have shifted expectations when it comes to physical channels and human interactions.

Listen in as Ipsos CX Service Line Leader, Stephanie Bannos-Ryback and members of the Ipsos Customer Experience team discuss customer behaviors and expectations in the hybrid world of physical and digital. We share recent insights on preferences, as well as how brands are integrating their CX measurement strategies for a true omnichannel customer understanding.

In the meantime, please feel free to download more insights from our recent paper.

Today’s AI-generated audio transcript is offered below. Apologies in advance for inconsistencies that have been included.


Thank you for joining us for today's Ipsos webinar, Exploring CX Measurement Strategies designed to optimize a True customer Understanding.


Today's webinar is being presented by Stephanie Bannos-Ryback and Kimberley Campbell, and you can read more about them on the slide in front of you.


Throughout today's session you will remain in listen only mode, however throughout the webinar you can submit questions online using the Q and A feature.


Time permitting we'll answer questions at the end of today's session.


However, if time we're unsure, your question will be answered by e-mail.


I also encourage you to check out the handouts uploaded in the Webinar Control Panel.


Today's Webinar is being recorded and will also be directly e-mailed to you.


So now without further ado it is my pleasure to welcome today's first speaker Stephanie Bannos-Ryback Executive Vice President and Leader of Ipsos is US. Customer experience, practice, Stephanie! You have the floor.


Thanks, Alan. Welcome everyone. Thank you for joining us today. As we get into the presentation, Kim and I are going to go off camera, so that you can focus on the slides that we have prepared for today, And then we will come back on for the Q&A at the end.


All right. So as we all very well know, customers have altered their habits and expectations in response to an unprecedented panda.


As code that is slowly decreasing, it's crucial to now how behaviors have changed permanently, or if they're reverting back to always, in order to understand what customers are looking for now, if source customer experience ran a study in late May to explore expectations across customer demographics.


Our findings fall into three categories: connected journey's, the role of humans and interactions, and how organizations can fend off negative experiences.


We'll get started with connected journeys.


Prior to the pandemic, our client conversations were often about understanding customer channel preferences and getting to the root of nuances in those expectations across industries. And across demographics.


Companies also sought to understand what services, features, and functionality were most important to their customers across touchpoints.


With a sudden shift to all things digital, not only has digital adoption achieved unprecedented rates, expectations for fully connected and integrated experiences have arisen consistent functionality across desktop, web, mobile, or in person, is table stakes.


And going a step further, 73% of respondents expect to be able to transition their online to in person shopping experience seamlessly.


From By.


Servicing digitally and physically, customers expect a fully connected experience when shopping, banking, purchasing a vehicle and so on.


Drilling into the offline to online concept a step further, you can see that this expectation for a hybrid and connected experience is as high for the 50 plus cohort, as it is for 18 to 34.


Companies who previously differentiated their engagement strategies for Boomers versus Millennials and Gen Z Gen Alpha, are now faced with a more homogeneous expectation across age demographics.


You can also see here that expectations rise with income level. So, brands targeting households over 100,000 and income are faced at the highest expectation are connected and fluid customer experiences.


Where there's still some variability is when it comes to engagement and different types of digital devices. So younger demographics are more likely to expect interchangeability in the desktop web, mobile web, or an app whereas older demographics expectations, while still high lagged the younger cohort.


You can also see here that function, our functional consistency, and digital touchpoints increases with income levels. So, again, brands who target higher income demographics need to invest more in consistent digital experiences across devices in order to resonate with that audience.


Another interesting slice of this data is the difference in expectations between households with children, and those without.


This 15 point difference really highlights the demand for convenience and ease for families, which is arguably, even more critical after this recent period: applicant in childcare situations, homeschooling, and so forth.


So companies seeking to earn share of wallet from households with children will do well by emphasizing, empathizing with this cohorts need to do what they want when they want on the channel that's most convenient for them in the moment.


To summarize this first set of findings companies must now recognize that fluidity in the customer journey, whether across devices are going from digital to physical is, here to stay. And the adoption of digital over the past two years has translated to high expectations across all age demographics.


This means that brands need to pay really close attention to functional consistency.


They need to emphasize ease and convenience, especially when engaging with parents, and they must recognize that those with a higher propensity to spend are going to be the most critical, about the connected experience.


My colleague, Ken, will now share a story that brings us to life in the healthcare space with virtual versus in person patient experiences.


So, the health care space may not initially be what we think of when we think of that shift to digital.


But the pandemic really changed things in terms of foreseeing certain industries that we thought might almost never go fully digital or take a really long time to get there.


But as the pandemic head, one of our clients was really working on what to do, right?


We were faced with everything shutting down, not being able to have in person visits and thinking about how we get from point A to point B.


And so what they were tasked with was standing up virtual visits instead of that in person visit, within a very short timeframe. Just a couple of weeks to keep things moving.


Because there was so much thought into keeping people safe because keeping people safe meant keeping them out of doctors' offices, but it also meant making sure they got the care that they needed for their health.


And what we were able to do was, by having a listening post into this virtual visit, stood up within that two week timeframe to align with that launch, we were able to really measure how this brand new experience was performing.


So, it was really interesting to dig into the tactical and operational side to answer the questions. Can we get these visits scheduled?


Are patients understanding how to join them? Are providers understanding how this new care model works?


Are they able to cat on the technology and use it? And then really ultimately, the biggest question, right? Are our patients getting the care that they need to make sure we're not ignoring health concerns during the pandemic because we're afraid to go somewhere?


So, it was really interesting to see the feedback that came in, just in the short time when they were initially launching these visits to see how much people really enjoyed that convenience of being able to do a visit with their provider very easily. And, of course, really, at a time where everyone needed as much support as possible, being able to get care, There was this thought of what happens next, right?


Some people thought, It was only going to be a couple weeks.


Obviously, that turned into a much longer timeframe, but even as numbers started to come down, we started to think about opening back up, there was this thought of, what do we do now?


And this research was really able to identify and solidify that everyone really does want convenience and that these digital experiences are working, especially to the point of parents being able to get pediatric visits very easily, Check on a symptom really easily just by face timing or provider or things like that. It's so critical to be able to maintain that.


I think sometimes in the past, we may have thought that it wasn't really going to stay around for that long. But the research really, you know, met the need initially.


But really has been used to make a business case for why this is so important moving forward to really listen to patients and consumers and continue to offer these no newer formats of care.


Excellent. Thank you, Ken. And before I move on to the next segment of our study, I'll answer one of the questions that came through, what was the timing of this research? So this was fielded in the second week of May. So pretty recent insights.


And with that, I'll jump into the other finding that we had, which really emphasized the major role that humans play, despite the trend that we just talked about around adoption and expectation in digital.


So, with staffing shortages, continuing companies are rushing to automate as much as possible in their physical operations, and those insights around the connected digital experience would, of course, support that investment decision.


However, this is also creating a really new and unique role for human interactions.


83% of respondents cited that a positive employee interaction is the most important element of the in person experience.


So, in our way, the scarcity of the human touch point has actually elevated its impact on the overall customer experience.


And with the importance of the human touch point rising, it's no surprise that the pressure placed on employees is high as well, and that pressure is highest in physical channels.


So, 70% of respondents expect better and faster service when they engage with the employee in person versus engaging with them via a digital medium, such as phone, e-mail, or live online chat.


In a nutshell, customers and get time with an employee representative face-to-face are seeing that time, it has as a premium, and with that, they expect premium quality of engagement, and premium outcomes.


So, let's look at this data across demographics.


Here, you can see the overwhelming pressure placed on employees who engage with customer face-to-face.


Again, we see higher demand and expectations in the higher income demographic, as well as those in more urban settings, which is likely correlated.


This means that companies who have physical footprints in dense, affluent locations, really need to take care of recognizing and enabling their employees to succeed in that high pressure environment.


That said, looking across the board here, no matter where a brand has physical locations, and no matter the makeup of the customer demographic, employees are more than ever viewed as the face of the brand and the ultimate representative of the customer.


Preferences for non face-to-face human interactions and specifically wanted to understand expectations and preferences for own conversations versus more passive channels like e-mail and online chat.


What stands out most in this data is that the younger cohort has a higher preference for phone conversation than older demographics. And pre pandemic this would have absolutely been counter-intuitive.


So, you know, we find this very interesting given how the assumptions around that digital satiny cohort have led brands to assume they would prefer self-service, automated chats, and so forth.


This insight is certainly something to watch in the months and years to come as it can have major implications on how brands approach future customer service solutions.


To sum this up, while investing in digital experiences is no doubt critical, companies can't assume that reduces the emphasis on human interactions and the role and boys play in the customer experience.


Our research indicates that their role as a key element of the experience and therefore investing in enabling and scaling employees, time and availability, is equally critical.


Next, Ken will share an example of a client that launched an innovative, digitally enabled experience.


That is part of the future of its brand, where ultimately, it's actually the employees in the field who are found to bring the experience to life.


Over to you, Kim.


Thanks, Yes.


So, as we see, lots of companies focusing on digital enablement and moving to more automation, it really is critical to understand that there does need to be a balance.


We can't get rid of humans altogether, right?


It is super important to really understand and listen to your customers and really try to tease out what that, right and proper balances.


So, we worked with Anne Automotives Servicing Company, and they launched a new mobile team that essentially, we'll service your vehicle wherever you need, which is great, right? You can call in and schedule or schedule online your appointment.


Let them know where your car will be.


They'll come out and do whatever service you need on the car without even interacting with you. Depending on what type of service.


You'll get a report for everything that's been done and then get, you know, billed for that service.


All of that really super automated with little to no technician contact. So, of course, this was a very new and innovative service that hadn't been done before.


So the research was really heavily focused on again, that that operational and those tactical learnings about the process and the automation and you did the scheduling work, did they get there on time? Did you get what you needed?


Did you understand exactly what was done, and did everything, make sense as your service was closed out?


And we asked a little bit about that technician.


But what we found from the feedback really early on as we piloted in a very small market was that the technician really was a make or break and table stakes of the experience.


So, you really had to make sure that when the technician did interact, even if limited, that, that was a really strong part of the experience.


And so we were able to very quickly tweak the survey to ask a little more nuanced questions and really learn what was going on, too.


Enable them to understand, you know, what feedback customers had and how to really balance all of that great automation with that human touch. And so, you know, they're able to get real-time feedback from these surveys and use that for immediate coaching of the technician so that as they're out on these calls, they're just continually improving.


Thank you, Kim, I actually had the benefit of seeing some of the verbatim from customers of this client of ours. While I was meeting with the client in person about a month ago.


And, what was really fascinating is just how much the, The team had expected the digital component of this new experience. To be what was amazing in differentiating the brand, and then, in the feedback, they're seeing that.


no, while they. Absolutely, customers absolutely love the new offering and capability that this company has provided.


As Kim said, it's really ultimately that employee who is in the field, who's making and breaking the experience.


And with it, one of the things that they changed operationally, was that, their customer service team, which was originally just servicing the end customer, actually pivoted their operating model a little bit in order to service the field team in the same sort of real-time capacity.


Moving on to our next area with stress in America running as highlighted as it is, we had a hypothesis that consumers are perhaps latching onto the slightest bit of a negative experience and possibly over indexing.


So while we did confirm their customers are more likely to remember a negative experience than a positive one.


The rate was actually lower than we anticipated at 62%. So conversely, 38% of customers are perhaps more likely to remember a positive experience over our next one.


This has implications for closing the loop on feedback, which is usually reserved for mitigating negative experiences.


With 40% having high likelihood to remember a positive.


This can be a really great opportunity for brands to ask for feedback on what's working and even request for advocacy. Such as using that as a moment to provide a referral offer.


Digging into these details, women are a little bit less likely to latch onto the negative experience than men and the 35 to 54 cohort is also scoring a bit lower on the metric.


But, as you can see, overall, pretty consistent results across the demographics.


And for a little bit of an aside, as we were digging into the data, just looking for areas of differentiation, our team that, I added, the fact that the mid-west indexes ahead of other regions on the likelihood to remember a negative experience.


So a little takeaway here is just to not take the mid-west nice for granted, because they are more likely than other regions in the US to remember that negative experience.


So to sum up this segment, simply monitoring the customer experience for hotspots might not be enough.


Brands must also understand the impact and potential roi of related CX investments, both for improving and optimizing, as well as for creating those standout moments that drive loyalty and advocacy.


This is critical, as sometimes it's actually exploiting the bright spots that are going to have the most positive impact on your customer experience.


And similarly, closing the loop on feedback doesn't need to be limited to mitigating risk from negative experiences.


As I mentioned, there can also be value in connecting with customers who had a great experience to understand more about what made it stand out or to simply express appreciation for taking the time to say something nice, and to connect this to our earlier findings. If that outreach comes from an actual person, it's even better.


So to bring this one to life, Kim will share our last slide story around measuring the moments that matter in a customer's journey, and the discovery of a hotspot that was having a significant impact on the customer experience and the brand's overall success.


So whether we're thinking about hotspots or bright spots, I think what we see a lot of clients struggle with is being able to find the spots in general and make sure they're measuring it.


So, I think it's really important as we focus on digital, to understand.


We've really need to think about the full journey and the full customer experience digital while having seen such a, an incredible rise in the past few years especially as it related to the pandemic and kind of that push to digitize much faster than a lot of companies maybe would have.


I think it's really important, too, remember that some in a lot of spaces, this still is really new and really just making sure that there is a measurement system out there, is important.


For example, we have a client that we work with in the telecom space and they have a lot of research But maybe it's not necessarily done by the same teams, right? I think it's pretty typical that a lot of research and insights teams are covering some more traditional research.


And a lot of digital properties, for example, might be owned or siloed by other teams that may be measuring them, but with different tools.


So when we came onto this engagement, we decided to revamp the entire digital measurement system in addition to the customer experience work we were already doing.


And really make sure that they had consistency across measurements on the digital properties, and also really started to cover the depth and breadth of those properties and make sure we were finding, again, those bright spots And. Those hotspots.


So, through a series of digital intercept surveys across the customer and prospect experience, we've rolled out a pretty comprehensive program and we're able to identify a hotspot pretty quickly.


It ended up that on a pretty high traffic page, the page where you can check your coverage and service availability, We knew it was high traffic, but we then found that the actual map that would show you, your coverage and service was either not fully loading, airing, or timing out.


And so, when we find something like that, right?


Next question we get is, typically, so, what right? What does that mean for me?


And that's where it's really critical to start tying back these experiences, too, ROI, because what we were able to do, because we have a lot of knowledge from some of the other research, is identify that by, for example, a prospect not being able to check your specific coverage map.


They now don't know if they can get service. So they may go to a competitor and then you lose that prospect entirely.


And we know the amount of people switching providers, so knowing that they're unable to check their covered service, and that that is a very high traffic page that a lot of people are visiting.


You really start to get a feel for tying back experience, two, revenue. And being able to understand the impact of, you know, if this number of people cannot check our coverage, we're potentially losing out on this much revenue.


So, again, it's just really important to take a step back sometimes, and think about the journey.


It really has changed so much from the typical brick and mortar stores. Where, you know, going in and buying from retail and walking out the door with something is a customer journey. There's so many touch points, and you really want a holistic view of your customer.


Again, whether or not they walk into your store, they call a support center, they log onto their app, they visit the website, That is all your brand and to your customer or a prospect. It's all one entity.


And we know that, obviously, with complex business models and things, that's something that we all work towards to make sure there is a consistent experience, But it is, it's important to make sure we're measuring that consistently as well.


Some of our conversation today, this research and these client score stories, further underscore the importance of flexible and always on, CX programs that keep up pulse of shifting expectations.


We plan to continue to field this research throughout this year and into the future to monitor these trends as other economic factors shift. And, as we know, those factors are continuing to affect customer sentiments, customer expectations, and a company's ability to deliver a great experience.


So, as Kim said, measuring across the entire journey, recognizing that there is a significant volume of tough touch points that are involved in the journey. Recognizing that there's a significant degree of expectation for consistency across those touch points is key.


So, that's, um, that does create a unique challenge for brands. But something that makes that measurement and prioritization of potential initiatives, all the more important.


So one final takeaway that we'd like to leave you with is to really consider some of those bigger CX investments that can affect the money.


During the course of the last two years, a lot of larger scale CX programs were put on pause because of uncertainty, volatility in the company, and so forth.


To situations where a lot of clients are more so focused on break fixes.


But seeing such consistency across demographics is a really interesting post pandemic finding that indicates there's actually a really huge opportunity for payoff on initiatives that are larger scale and reach your broadest audience.


So, this wraps up the presentation portion of today. And we have a couple of questions in the chat.


I'll encourage additional questions to come in, as we're going through these ones that we have.


So, Kim, jump back on camera here.


I assume that it So, Kim, the first one is for you, and I'm guessing, based on the timing of this question, it was coming in, when he made a reference to traffic.


So, the question is, what channel of engagement should a brand focus on first when implementing a customer experience measurement program?


And I'll kind of turn the question when one craved further and say, what should a brand be considering or looking at when making a determination on where to measure first?


Yeah, I mean, I think in terms of where to measure first.


It really is important too Understand that customer journey. So, if you haven't done a journey mapping exercise, that's a really great place to start and identify some of your different segments.


Because you may want to start with obviously your highest traffic channel, highest revenue channel unless there's something that really is, you know, like we saw during the pandemic digital was being pushed. So, that then became the focus. But I think there's a lot of tools that you can definitely use to help you understand which channel is best.




And another question we had is, it doesn't matter if the experience started online or in person, if the person is traversing across multiple channels.


We didn't ask that specific question in our research.


But what I can say from client insights around different points in the journey is that earlier on, in a customer's relationship with the brand, the human interaction or in person touchpoint is not as emphasized as later on in the customer's relationship with the brand.


So, for example, if there is somebody who is engaging with a company for the very first time and is trying to get service or support from our person, and they can't achieve that, it might not fully make or break the potential for a relationship.


However, when someone has been loyal to a brand for several years or who has brand, even in a short period of time, it's that moment where there's actually been a deeper value exchange that a brand that a customer does expect the ability to interact with the human.


So, something to keep in mind, too, especially when, as we talked about before, there is scarcity in human resources that are available to interact with customers, potentially prioritizing some of the longer relationships or someone who had a very recent purchase could go a long way in keeping their customer engaged and happy.


Any other questions coming in, it looks, I did ask the one before about the timing of fielding this. So that was in May and our intention is to do this one again in early Q four.


Then Allan, I think that wraps it up for today.


That was fantastic. Thank you so much, Stephanie and Kimberly. I want to thank everyone who joined us today, and I wanted to remind you that there are some handouts to download in your control panel that you can do now to read more about the research we shared.


Of course, at anytime, we welcome the opportunity to speak with you, so please feel free to reach out to Stephanie or Kimberly.


That now concludes today's webinar.


Have a wonderful day, everyone.

The author(s)

  • Stephanie Bannos-Ryback Executive Vice President, CX
  • Kimberley Campbell Vice President, US, Customer Experience

Customer Experience