US consumers play hard to get, but once brands secure their trust, the majority of US consumers are loyal for life, according to a global survey commissioned by Acquia. The report examines the gap between consumers' and marketers' perception of CX through the lens of three frames: people, technology, and data. Results uncover several areas where marketers and consumers don't share the same view of the world. This article is copyright 2019 The Best Customer Guide.

Acquia's inaugural global report surveyed more than 5,000 consumers and 500 marketers across Australia, Europe, and North America provided input for the survey, Closing the CX Gap: Customer Experience Trends Report 2019. The research showed that US consumers can be difficult to capture: 78% of US consumers said they do not think brands should be able to use their personal data to market different things to them. Another 56% are not confident that brands have their best interests in mind when they use, share and/or store their personal data.

However, if you win US consumers over, they will stick around. Three quarters of US consumers agree that if a brand understands them at a personal level they are more likely to be loyal. Moreover, 59% of US consumers - the highest of all countries surveyed - reported that once they are loyal to a brand, the brand has their loyalty for life. US consumers also were the least likely to move on from a brand they are loyal to after having a bad experience, showing that marketers can reach their audiences if they have the insight, tools, and resources to compete.

"It's critical to maintain a good relationship with customers - to reach them on their terms with messages that resonate," said Lynne Capozzi, Acquia CMO. "Our research proves that this is more important than ever. At Acquia we know marketers need solutions that are easy to work with - to give them the freedom to create experiences without technology getting in the way."

Other key findings uncovered in the report included:

  • Quality of experience seen as poor
    US consumers care about quality of experience, but they aren't seeing what they want from brands. More US consumers experienced purchasing-related issues during major online events such as Black Friday and Click Frenzy. Fifty-six percent of US consumers feel that in their total experience with most brands, their marketing is mostly ineffective. Nearly two-thirds of US consumers (63%) feel that brands interact with them the right amount - indicating that it is not the cadence but the quality of interaction that is impacting them.
  • Technology is falling short
    Nearly seven out of ten US marketers (69%) believe technology has made it harder, not easier, for them to offer customers personalized experiences. Despite using technology designed to improve CX, 80% of US marketers feel their customers wants higher levels of personalization than they can currently offer. Compared to other countries surveyed, US marketers disagree most that they have a way to capture customer data in real-time and that they have a way to act on customer data with real-time insights and actions. Marketers in the US are least confident that their technology vendors with services supporting customer experience will support them if there is an interruption of service.
  • US marketers lack enthusiasm about technology innovation
    Compared to other countries, US marketers are less likely to be focusing on artificial intelligence, machine learning or Internet of Things technologies in the next months. They also are least likely to be working toward linking with in-home devices such as Amazon's Alexa and Apple's iHome, when compared with other countries.

"It's essential to know how and where customers connect, and to have insight into their motivations," the report concludes. "While technology and data are key elements to measuring success, they're also tools to help better engage customers - but only if used effectively."