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IBM Study: Disconnect Between Companies, Consumers in Digital Initiatives

While companies are launching digital initiatives at break-neck speeds, there’s still a disconnect between what companies are launching and what consumers actually want, according to a new study from IBM’s Institute for Business Value (IBV).

The study — “The Experience Revolution: Digital Disappointment Why Some Consumers Aren’t Fans” — found that while company executives believe that consumers are digitally savvy across the board, and simply want to try anything new (including have more control over their digital experiences) consumers tend to want convenience and affordability above all else.

The survey results — which saw IBM interview more than 600 executives and more than 6,000 consumers worldwide — noted that approximately 70% of companies said they were implementing digital voice command services with their digital initiatives, while a full 50% said they were doing the same with virtual and augmented reality. But while those are certainly next-gen offerings, those digital “points of engagement” aren’t sure-fire wins, according to the survey.

“Companies have an opportunity to win and lose customers solely based on the quality of the experience they provide,” said Robert Schwartz, global leader of strategy and design for IBM iX. “It’s not enough to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach. Companies need to provide personalized and individualized experiences in order to authentically build their brands. With customers of certain demographics, this already matters far more than branded communications.”

The study found that approximately 70% of consumers who reported trying out new virtual reality initiatives or interact with a device or computer via voice command, came away disappointed with their experiences, and ended up less likely to try other VR or voice-command offerings. Age comes into play as well: 24% of millennials will regularly locate products with a company’s mobile app, compared to a mere 8% of Baby Boomers.

On the executive side, company leaders are underestimating how the age of their consumers comes into play when offering new digital experiences: When asked if customers’ age determined adoption of new services, only 38% said they thought age made a difference.

“Design digital experiences to meet customer expectations, not your own,” IBM said in a press release. “Use this transformation as an opportunity to eliminate underlying customer pain points and reinvent [digital services] from the customers’ point of view making it faster, easier or more convenient than traditional channels to engage.

“Analyze customers’ root motivations, desires and pain points It is important to recognize the generational differences among consumers, but at the same time, not stereotype individuals simply based on their age.”