Yesterday Engageware released data from our survey on the state of the B2C buying experience, and respondents made it overwhelmingly clear that B2B brands should consider appointment scheduling to deliver the personalized buying experiences preferred by today’s consumers.

The Engageware-sponsored survey, “What Buyers Want: The State of the B2C Buyer Experience,” complements our recent data dive on the B2B buying experience. And while some trends apply to both B2B and B2C contexts, B2C buyers were particularly forceful in expressing their expectation that successful customer relationships start with personalized attention.

Survey data indicates that today’s buyers are demanding new engagement opportunities from the companies they wish to buy from, specifically in ways that make it easier for them to interreact and schedule 1:1 appointments. Relatedly, respondents confirm that a poor in-store experience, such as when a company fails to connect buyers to a knowledgeable store associate in a timely manner, will likely result in missed opportunities for greater sales and loyalty.

Moreover, buyers indicate that they want to learn more about products and services before making a purchase – making experiential marketing efforts such as class- and event-based programs an essential part of any B2C push by consumer-facing brands.

It’s clear that scheduling appointments and attending events and classes can lead to the type of customer relationship both brands and consumers value, yet respondents tell us they continue to have difficulty scheduling time with brands. (And the lost value can be measured in more than just emotional terms: 94% of buyers agreed that they tend to buy — and buy more — when they have live interactions with an informed employee.).

The survey data shows that the time is now for B2C brands to take advantage of the engagement opportunity afforded by live interactions, and differentiate themselves against competitors. Additional data highlights from the B2C report include:

  • 78% of B2C buyers reported that they “Always” or “Frequently” do not hear back from a company after contacting them with a purchase-related question.
  • When visiting a store or bank, fully 50 percent of respondents indicate that they “Always” or “Frequently” have difficulty getting assistance from a knowledgeable associate in a timely manner. The result? No sale, with 74 percent of respondents saying they will leave without making a purchase. Simply by scheduling an appointment with would-be buyers, brands can avoid this disconnect – and align with the 83 percent of Engageware respondents who say they are either likely or very likely to schedule an appointment with a company they may buy from.
  • Consumers looking for personal shopping services strongly endorse the importance of live meetings and appointments – 69% of survey respondents said these were important – and shoppers across industries share this view. Whether it’s a buyer looking for technology products or services (84%), financial services (92%), or banking products (87%), today’s B2C buyers clearly value the ability to schedule an appointment and get the service they expect from a potential seller – where and when the buyer wants it.
  • 79% percent of buyers say it’s important to be able to attend events or classes to learn more about a product or service prior to purchasing. Buyers are also more likely to buy, or buy more, if a brand offers events or classes relating to the product.
  • 90% of Engageware survey respondents say they use online search “frequently” or “all the time” to find store and bank locations – a frequency that presents a huge opportunity for brands to create a truly expedited and seamless buyer’s journey using new services such as “Reserve with Google”

This most recent survey data makes clear that B2C selling organizations must offer personalized engagement opportunities that not only address buyer questions, but also provide new educational opportunities to drive vendor preference. Sellers should also recognize the value that buyers place on companies who offer appointments as a means to interact with knowledgeable employees. The pay-off? B2C customers will spend more when they get the right service, at the right time.

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