compeititionMany of us in the customer experience space, myself included, think we know our customers and what it takes to do business with them. We believe that the traditional customer will continue doing business in the same way, even with the adoption and use of new technologies like digital channels.

What we may not realize is the emergence of a significantly different, digitally savvy consumer that lives a digital lifestyle – with smartphones, social networks, and expecting real time engagement from anywhere, anytime. Today’s digital customer spans generations from Baby Boomers to Gen X to Millennials and beyond. Competing for this digital customer requires a different way of thinking, and these customers are much more discerning and sophisticated than we may comprehend.

Let me share with you a recent customer service incident that I witnessed with my Millennial son. He was seeking service for his laptop printer, which had just stopped working. He began his journey, as most do today, by searching Google with the printer’s error message. The top search results took him to the support forum hosted by the printer’s manufacturer.

Within the forum, customers discussed the problems they had been having with this particular printer. A support agent for the manufacturer had commented regarding replacing the printer at no charge by calling the phone number listed. My son then proceeded to call the support number. After a very frustrating hour and fifteen minutes of troubleshooting with a tier one support agent, he was told there was nothing they could do for him, and he would need to buy a new printer. The agent then proceeded to up-sell him on a new printer. Not satisfied with this response, he asked to be escalated to a supervisor.

While waiting for the supervisor, my son sent a Tweet to the support desk of the printer’s manufacturer, stating that he was being asked to purchase a new printer even though in their forum it stated a replacement would be provided at no charge for the faulty product. Once the supervisor was on the phone, my son had to recap his journey to date with the company. The supervisor responded by telling him that they could offer a small discount towards a purchase of another printer. My son, unwilling to accept this, then sited verbatim from the manufacturer’s support forum where it was stated a replacement would be provided at no charge. After several more minutes of negotiations, including placing my son on hold while the supervisor checked with his management, the supervisor finally acknowledged that there was a replacement program for the faulty printer at no charge. Not a pleasant customer journey!

If companies don’t understand this new digital savvy customer, it is painfully clear that these customers will quickly find another alternative to your company to meet their needs. As customer experience and contact center professionals, we should be highly motivated by these higher customers’ expectations and work toward providing the type of innovative digital customer experiences, products and services that can win over new customers and build loyalty with existing customers.

How Can Companies Compete and Win Over Digital Customers?

Brian Solis, digital analyst at Altimeter Group recently partnered with Genesys to explore the future of digital customer experience (CX).  See his insightful examination of today’s digital savvy customers in the video below:

Interested in learning more? Check out our new digital customer experience thought leadership study, How to Transform Digital Customer Experiences for the Connected Customer. You can get it here!