At SAP, we know that two of the biggest factors in driving business growth are providing superb customer experiences and supporting employee well-being. But how can you tell what customers are looking for or how to ensure employees are happy both in and outside the workplace?
To help answer these questions, we surveyed 1,500 Americans on a variety of topics, including experiences with vendors, personal technology use at work, and the perception of personal technology use across generations.
First, we wanted to determine what kinds of experiences consumers are having when purchasing products and, more importantly, how they react to these experiences. Seventy percent of the respondents stated that they have had a terrible experience with a vendor for a variety of different self-reported reasons, including unsatisfactory customer service, issues with the product, or delivery complications.
But companies almost certainly did not provide terrible experiences intentionally. Most probably thought they were delivering a great service when in reality customers were unsatisfied. This distance between a company’s and a customer’s expectations is something we call the experience gap.
Organizations that are looking to close this experience gap are the ones that will survive in today’s very competitive market.
Everyone Has a Megaphone
When respondents were asked about the action they took after having a bad customer experience, 27 percent said they would tell friends and family about it. Thirty-one percent said they would return the product.
A significant portion of respondents also said they would tell friends and family about their purchase after having an amazing experience. The fact that many consumers reported sharing both positive and negative purchasing experiences with friends and family demonstrates the power that the customer experience has in shaping brand reputation.
These shared experiences are likely to change people’s perceptions of a company for better or worse, so providing an amazing customer experience is critical to retaining current customers as well as for reaching new audiences. In today’s social media landscape, everyone has the power to share above and beyond their inner circle to hundreds, thousands, or even millions of followers. Now, going viral is a risk about which companies need to be hyperaware.
How Much Technology Is Too Much?
The second objective of the survey was to examine views on personal technology use and gauge how often personal technology is used in and outside the workplace. Personal technology here refers to the use of cell phones, mobile devices, and personal computers that do not have to do with a day-to-day job.
When asked what is considered a healthy amount of time to spend using personal technology each day, 78 percent of respondents said between zero to four hours. However, 46 percent of the same survey group reported using personal technology for four or more hours a day outside the workplace. When combined with the amount of time spent using technology in the workplace, it is clear that many respondents are using personal technology more than they consider healthy.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents (63 percent) reported that they believe the increased use of personal technology in the workplace has significantly decreased barriers between home and work life. This is evident based on the amount of time this group uses technology at the end of their workday or while on paid time off. Seventy-five percent said they use personal technology for work-related tasks at least every couple of hours after they leave the office or “end” their workday, and 57 percent log on at least once a day while on vacation.
While personal technology has increased efficiency for many people, it also limits the ability to separate work and personal matters, which in turn can cause stress and decrease job satisfaction.
The final part of this survey was used to determine perceptions on technology use in regard to Generation Z, or people aged 22 and under. While results show that a majority of respondents personally use technology for at least two hours each day, 67 percent said they believed that Generation Z spends too much time using personal technology and 62 percent believe this technology use is at least slightly harmful to the generation’s wellbeing.
According to a survey conducted by Vision Critical, Generation Z uses personal technology on average for three to four hours per day — equivalent to or less than the amount of time spent by 32 percent of the survey respondents from all age ranges. Though Generation Z does not use personal technology significantly more than people from other generations, there is a negative perception of the group’s technology habits.
These results speak volumes for the ways that both consumers and employees behave. They also indicate that there are still ways to improve experiences for both groups. The good news is that acknowledging these challenges provides opportunity for progress for any business or organization looking to develop new strategies.