We've become obsessed with our phones says Accenture's Vicky Godolphin

The above headline is actually what I was told by Vicky Godolphin, Head of Digital at Accenture, when I met up with her recently at the ‘Going for Growth’ conference in Dublin.

Vicky Godolphin, Head of Digital at Accenture

It’s only just over 10 years since the iphone came out and in that short time people have become obsessed. For 65% of us apparently, the last thing we do before going to sleep at night and the first thing we do when we wake up, is look at our phone. Most of us appreciate what Vicky says is true, but do we recognise this in the way we carry out our own marketing and operational objectives?

Can you truly say your company has been ‘Digitally Transformed’, an expression I picked up at the conference, which I have to say was excellent, organised by Penton Publications. Prior to speaking with me, Vicky was on stage delivering an extremely informative talk on exactly this subject, which drew many questions from the delegates.

In the press, on the podium and directly to me, Vicky said “Customers really want to control their experiences and their interactions far more today. As consumers, we now expect to be stimulated, surprised and delighted with all our online interactions, but his can be hugely demanding for businesses to work out what each of us want. We must however consider that the traditional shop model will in the future be morphed into more of a destination, rather than simply being an outlet to purchase goods."

“Businesses need to be looking at real game changing technologies, which doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive. It just means picking the right kind of technology to deliver the right kind of experience for your business. Using smart technology in a smart way is the key.”

Smart words indeed from Vicky who has over 15 years of experience successfully delivering large scale transformation and change programmes, including multi-channel, marketing and customer change, post-merger integration and operating model change. With global experience, Vicky has worked in Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Europe.

Complimenting this article are some snippets from the Accenture annual Global Consumer Survey which assesses consumer attitudes toward customer service and marketing and sales practices sourced from more than 10,000 people in 27 countries, including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Companies that don’t deliver on customer service are likely to be punished as 91% of consumers are likely to tell others about their experience and almost 3 out of 10 (29%) are also likely to post bad experiences online.

Competitive pricing continues to be a major driver for consumers with 27% citing it as the most important quality they seek when it comes to companies they will do business with.

Only 15% say that they feel loyal to their providers. However, the research shows that loyalty programmes can be a powerful tool for retaining customers in particular industries with between 42% (hotels) and 60% (retail) of respondents who participate in loyalty programmes, saying they are persuaded to stick with the companies that provide them.

74% search for information about companies and their offerings online on a frequent basis (a few times a week to a few times a month), while 67% now use social media to explore company products and offerings.

46% write about personal experiences on social media sites with 16% engaging in this kind of activity at least several times a month. When online, 36% of consumers trust comments about companies and brands by people they know and over a quarter of respondents (26%) agree that negative comments impact on their purchasing decisions.

60% will not accept lower levels of product quality for the lowest price, while 39% refuse to compromise on lower levels of customer service.

49% of consumers expect more from customer service than they did a year ago. 78% expect service to be easier to obtain; 64% expect it to be faster, while 63% expect a more knowledgeable customer service agent.