Good CX is not just about doing things quickly, argues Fetch’s Julian Smith. Most important is to find a strategy that leverages your knowledge of the consumers as well as their understanding of your brand.

Over 40% of all consumers and more than half of 18-24-year-olds say that they are more impatient today than they were five years ago, according to a study conducted by Fetch with YouGov. As modern, smartphone-connected consumers become increasingly accustomed to satisfying their needs online and on-demand at the touch of a mobile screen, they become less tolerant of delays and more impatient for instant gratification.

People’s expectations of their brand and business interactions are higher than ever thanks in large part to the mobile-centred, data-driven personalised services that have emerged with the smartphone-triggered app economy. Companies such as Deliveroo, Netflix, Airbnb and Uber all offer the convenience of instant access with minimal friction. And users love it.

As a result, more traditional organisations, from government offices to financial services, need to up their game in terms of their mobile customer experience (CX). But a large majority are falling at the first hurdle. Last year, Google research revealed that 53% of visitors abandon a mobile website that fails to load after three seconds however, after testing 900,000 mobile sites globally, it found that the average loading time for a mobile page is 22 seconds. So, should companies now focus all their efforts on meeting consumers’ needs for instant gratification by speeding up the CX on mobile?

While speed (or mobile latency) continues to be an important development focus, Fetch’s research also found that there is another CX element which needs to be considered to provide consumers the ultimate experience – consistency.

Consistency of CX across channels and platforms topped a prompted list of criteria likely to generate loyalty amongst our respondents. It outranked speed of service 37% to 28%. Drilling down, the age group that most values consistency in the UK are 25-34-year olds and in the US 35-44-year olds and 55 plus. Predictably, 18-24-year-olds defy the consensus and rank consistency and speed of equal importance.

Speed and service therefore need to be in equilibrium. The goal for businesses should be to deliver a frictionless experience that consistently meets expectations across online and offline channels. As well as streamlining digital platforms to be as fast as possible organisations need to be smarter and carefully manage the speed of their operations to meet the goal of a consistent CX.

If you are reducing the steps to mobile website conversion, then product or service fulfilment needs to be equally as efficient. For example, for retailers, ‘Click and Collect’ only works if the parcel is ready for pick up when the customer arrives. There is no point encouraging people to contact a customer service call centre from their mobile, if they then must wait in a long line to speak to a representative. 

At Fetch we were recently tasked to optimise the mobile app UX of a well-known tour operator business. In order to do this, we considered the total customer experience of their holidaymaker target audience - from pre-holiday inspiration and planning to holiday experience to post holiday reliving – in order to see how digital and real-life experiences could be better aligned. We identified a challenge in their high street stores that needed to be fixed in order to bring their real-life customer service experience on par with their digital experience.

Businesses need to be clear on what the right customer experience is for their product or service and define the right pace of customer convenience required. While an online shopper might be impatient to receive their new shoes at home within 24 hours, they might be happy to wait 5 days for a new bank card to arrive.

When it comes to banking and payment apps, people value security above speed. A recent study by Gemalto shows more than 80% of consumers feel more confident when using an app containing sensitive personal data if they can see security checks taking place on their mobile screen. Essentially, they want a visual cue that they are secure, even if this is technically redundant.

Businesses need to understand their audience’s expectations of what is good customer service in their category – and speed up or slow down the delivery of their offering accordingly. This might alter by age and life stage. While Millennials are keen for ‘everything, now’ their attitudes may change along with their priorities over time.

Companies should also research how people behave in real life, which can often differ from their claimed behaviour and attitudes, and explore the field of behavioural economics. Many companies will find that there is an argument to consider building ‘positive friction’ into the CX and mobile-specific interactions when they consider human behaviour.

It’s important to be aware of where the customer frustrations currently lie in the intersection between technology and the customer experience. We have found that consistency of experience and a clear focus on customer satisfaction will have more of an impact on business success than a slavish devotion to instant gratification.

The goal of modern businesses today must be to create consistent brand experiences across all online and offline channels, which generate customer loyalty and drive lifetime value.