BT: customers don’t think in channels; they think about goals

Customers rarely think in terms of channels. Instead, their buying behaviour is determined by their goals.

That was the key finding from a recent survey by BT Global Services, which the company’s Head of Customer Insight and Futures, Nicola Millard, discussed at Technology for Marketing.

Having spoken to a pool of subscribers ranging from 18 to 82 in age, BT discovered that consumers will try channel after channel, until they find the right path leading to complete their desired action.

How to connect with consumers’ need for convenience 

A goal-oriented attitude does not mean that consumers will tolerate poor channel experiences. BT’s research revealed that its customers will not embrace a channel that they find difficult; they take the path of least resistance.

This path does not need to be guided, either. There has been a marked rise in ‘autonomous customers’, who enjoy the control of self-serving their needs. This has changed the way BT optimises its website, although the company still ensures that contact details are easily accessible should customers have a query.

The 3 types of curious consumer 

BT’s research also highlighted that curious consumers can be divided into three categories, which aren’t necessarily dictated by demographic. The three categories are:

  • Visionaries – consumers that excitedly plan purchases
  • Customers in Crisis – consumers that are struggling to achieve their shopping goal
  • Utilitarians – consumers without an emotional attachment to their end goal

By segmenting its customers into these categories, BT can provide a service that more accurately meets their needs. For example, offering automated options for utilitarian customers, but more immediate support such as online and social media for customers in crisis.

This segmenting of consumers based on their behaviour raises another important point: psychology. Converting customers is based as much about their state of mind and their emotions at that moment in time as their overall goal. Being able to recognise and act upon this is critical; “you just can’t think discreetly anymore, because your customers don’t” was Millard’s closing piece of advice.

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