Brands and businesses know they must provide a seamless, intuitive customer experience in today’s marketplace, and insightful new research from marketing-focused website operations platform Pantheon explores these experiences—identifying the most influential points for trust-building and trust-breaking along the digital customer journey.
In the firm’s newly released Rules of the Marketing Game report, consumers rank the marketing strategies and missteps that most significantly impact brand trust, which 73 percent say is their biggest motivator to share first-party data. As marketers rapidly approach a cookieless digital world, the findings demonstrate that the ability to create frictionless digital experiences that build, cultivate, and protect customer trust is a competitive advantage.
The survey, conducted by Hanover Research, asked more than 1,000 U.S. and U.K. consumers to share what they expect from their digital experiences. Consumers said a brand’s website is its most important digital touchpoint, with user-friendliness (87 percent) and speed (81 percent) as top expectations. Ability to contact a brand through preferred methods (66 percent) and a modern website and/or mobile app interface (64 percent) also are important to consumers.
The study also uncovered the lengths to which savvy consumers will go to avoid sharing personal information with brands that haven’t earned their trust. Nearly half (48 percent) say they use guest checkout in online transactions to avoid providing data, and 42 percent won’t create a user profile. Personalization also proves polarizing for consumers; 48 percent of those who prefer generic communication say it’s because they don’t want to be tracked. For marketers targeting Gen Z, the dynamics are even more difficult—only 35 percent of these consumers are willing to share their data with brands.
Data sharing hesitation compounded by negative experiences
Consumer reluctance to share personal information is not the only barrier marketers face. Negative digital interactions, experienced by 90 percent of respondents, also erode trust. In fact, more than half of respondents (51 percent) stopped engaging with a brand altogether following a negative interaction. The top complaints were being spammed with emails (52 percent), unhelpful customer service (44 percent), issues with a brand’s website (41 percent), difficulty canceling a subscription (37 percent), and inability to interact through their preferred communication method (32 percent). However, on the bright-side, even after negative brand experiences, 81 percent say they’re willing to grant second chances.
“Consumers are incredibly discerning about when and how they interact with brands. The research shows that the stakes are high—in web time, one misstep can turn a customer away in the fraction of a second. Modern marketers need to be really attuned to delivering online experiences that earn brand trust,” said Christy Marble, Pantheon chief marketing officer, in a news release. “There is so much opportunity to read the signals customers give us throughout the customer journey. Marketers who meet customers where they are, remove friction and remain attentive to customer needs will inspire confidence, deliver value and build trust with customers.”
Download the full report here.