The previous article in this series—which shared our views of concepts covered in our webinar featuring Forrester’s Brendan Witcher—discussed what it looks like to go from good to great, in terms of the customer experience. In short, the article explained an increase in customer expectations—if one digital brand, regardless of industry, has certain experience-improving features on their website, customers expect to find the same features with other digital brands.
With an array of options, customers are quick to adopt, and just as quick to abandon, the brands they choose. That is, unless there is a differentiating factor that makes one brand a clear choice.
This article will explore our thoughts on the differences between hyper-adoption and hyper-abandonment and how they interact. Plus, we’ll examine why they both matter when it comes to creating customer loyalty.
What Are Hyper-Adoption and Hyper-Abandonment?
Hyper-adoption is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It’s an onslaught of customers who have adopted your brand because it solves a problem or meets a need. Think about voice technology, for example. At this point, we’ve all asked Alexa the weather or started a sentence with “Hey Google.” Voice technology was adopted quickly because it gave people a newer, faster, and easier way to execute tasks.
In a digital world, hyper-adoption is rampant because the barrier to entry is extremely low. Users type in an email address and a password and boom—they’re subscribers. It’s super easy for customers to try a product or become a member because they don’t have to leave their sofa. But, that means it’s just as easy to ditch a brand.
If the tides change and the product that was once a necessity becomes obsolete or no longer solves a problem, customers will abandon a product as quickly as they adopted it. Nowadays, however, it’s not just the product that determines whether or not a customer abandons your brand. The customer experience has a lot to do with it.
As Brendan mentioned in the webinar, “61% of customers said they’re unlikely to return to a website that doesn’t provide a satisfactory customer experience.
What is that word? Satisfactory. Why is that so important? Because ‘satisfactory’ isn’t up to the company. It’s up to the consumer. And that means that each consumer is going to have their own things that make them satisfied. “
The way we see it, “Satisfactory” is completely subjective. Appealing to each individual customer’s definition of satisfactory can become a challenge. To avoid hyper-abandonment, brands need to create a catch-all experience that is beneficial to everyone.
Pivoting to Meet Customer Expectations
To create a universally beneficial customer experience, brands need to keep an ear to the ground to understand what trends are emerging and what other digital brands are offering. As we mentioned in Part 1 of this series, customers no longer compare brands within the same industry, they compare across all digital brands. If one brand offers a certain experience, regardless of industry, customers are expecting the same capabilities from the other digital brands they interact with.
Netflix—founded in 1997—is a great example of pivoting out of hyper-abandonment into hyper-adoption. To expand on this, back in the day, Netflix would send DVDs to their customers. Customers created a queue and the movies would be sent to them in that order. But, as brands like Hulu—founded in 2007—started to gain traction, Netflix realized customers were starting to abandon their brand in exchange for these cloud-based streaming services. So, Netflix pivoted and, in 2007, started offering streaming services.
Netflix was able to (and continues to) stay on the cusp of customer expectations, building loyalty amongst subscribers.
Why Meeting Expectations Creates Loyalty
Pivoting means your brand is listening to what your customers are looking for. By shifting to meet expectations, brands are building trust with their customers versus letting them move to a more convenient competitor. What happens if your brand doesn’t pivot fast enough or at all?
Let’s look at Redbox, for example. Once Netflix gained popularity, Redbox capitalized on the fact that people didn’t want to wait to get DVDs in the mail, so they offered customers a way to get them when they wanted—through a kiosk. But, as Netflix pivoted to streaming, Redbox stood staunchly behind their kiosks. They pivoted in their own way: from DVDs to Blu-Rays, and now, to video games, but it wasn’t what customers needed. “DVD sales have plummeted an astounding 86 percent since 2008 whereas streaming services have seen sales jump 1,231 percent since 2011. Blu-Ray sales are also declining fast as well.”
Redbox went from hyper-adoption to hyper-abandonment in the blink of an eye because they started to look outdated, like they weren’t paying attention. Customer trust started to disintegrate when new, easier, more convenient options became available. What’s Redbox up to now? Well, they finally pivoted and are trying to get into the streaming game, but perhaps a bit too late.
Strive to Understand Your Customers
Understanding all of your customers has to start with understanding some. Looking at each segment and understanding their challenges can help guide where your brand will pivot next. But, to do this, brands have to be willing to adapt.
“You’re not going to do one thing and win every single customer out there. That’s not how it works. It never works out. If you’re waiting and sitting around for that silver bullet thing, that’s going to win 50% of consumers, that’s not how it works. You have to segment your customers’ pain points and say, what are they looking for? Some customers want this. Some customers want that.” – Brendan Witcher
What hyper-adoption and hyper-abandonment show us is that it’s okay for brands to change. In fact, customers appreciate it. If a brand can evolve with customers’ expectations, and solve for their pain points, it will only solidify the relationship. In the next part of this series, we’ll take a look at how to individualize the experience using the available customer data.
To get Brendan’s take on hyper-adoption and hyper-abandonment, watch the full webinar.