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No ifs, No buts – Customers expect brands to have an excellent understanding of them

Tuesday 3rd December 2013 by David Jones

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For the vast majority of UK Adults there are no excuses – they see it as ‘extremely important’ that brands have nothing short of an ‘excellent’ understanding of them as customers. According to the pilot study of the Mutual Understanding Measure™ conducted by Habit5 two-thirds of people have this expectation. Ahead of the upcoming release of headline data on the twenty UK brands included in this ground-breaking online study, we look at just how important it is to understand your customers exceptionally well.

In the Mutual Understanding Measure™ online survey 1,128 UK consumers were asked ‘How important is it that companies, brands and organisations have an excellent understanding of their customers?’ 66% of people scored this at 9 or 10 on the Lickert scale in the diagram below, indicating very clearly that they saw it as ‘Extremely Important’.

Barely anyone sees customer understanding as an unimportant requirement of brands and businesses. Whilst the general level of agreement on the importance of customer understanding doesn’t come as a surprise, the absolute level of importance attached to this by UK consumers is very striking, and goes a long way to validating the focus of the Mutual Understanding Measure™ itself.

Q1 Importance of Understading

When we look in more detail at who is most and least likely to see ‘excellent’ customer understanding as ‘extremely important’ we find that men are significantly more likely than women to have this high expectation, with 68.8% of males versus 62.6% of females scoring at 9 or 10.

Q1 Gender split

The importance of being extremely well understood as a customer exerts a very strong influence at both ends of the age spectrum. This can probably be explained by strong memories of exceptional and highly responsive customer service driving a high benchmark amongst the over-55s. Such high expectations were more of a surprise among the 16-24 year old age group where 73.2% rated 9 or 10 on the scale. These Millennials or Generation Y-ers probably have the most acute sense of how much digital data brands hold on them that can be harnessed to aid understanding. They also probably harbour the most powerful desire to be understood for the new independent adults that they are.

Q1 Age split

When we break responses down regionally we find that it is people in the Midlands that put the strongest onus on brands to understand them with 69.5% rating this at 9 or 10 against the national average of 66.0%.

Q1 Region split

Overall the message comes across loud and clear – customers expect brands to provide an omnichannel experience design to be understood extremely well but as future extracts from the Mutual Understanding Measure™ will reveal, very few brands are meeting this expectation on a consistent basis. There is clearly much work to be done.

All charts and tables are copyright Habit5 2013. Please request permission to reproduce.