Your customers may be most active online after you've signed off for the day.

It’s 10 p.m. and you’re in bed. It was a long day at work. Your computer is closed and you’re offline for the night. Meanwhile, a flurry of tweets directed at your brand are coming in. One individual wants to know why the package on which they spent additional shipping charges to get there in two days hasn’t arrived yet. Another customer is airing grievances and wondering why the cashier at a specific store location was rude to them today. Whatever the case, your customers want answers. And they expect those answers now.

This is the expectation that brands are up against. It’s an always-on battle that blurs the lines between digital and in-person experiences. These heightened expectations call for a complete revitalization of how brand marketers operate. And they are also creating major staffing implications for the brands that are working to keep up.

The disappearance of true offline moments is altering your customer's journey.

Recent research found that 42 percent of people spend more than 12 hours per day on their mobile devices and only 9 percent of people wait until they are starting their work day to get online. In addition, 70 percent of customers said they get offline after 10pm.

This means more than just a mobile addiction. It’s about a completely altered journey for customers due to these additional touchpoints.

Even when shopping in a store, people are going on their phones for coupons, to read product reviews, watch video tutorials, download mobile apps, or even to ‘check in’ to score a good deal. The very idea of “offline” and “online” are dated terms in the eyes of the customer. It’s now all just one holistic brand experience.

This constant connectivity has forever altered the expectations held by customers. Things like the website “contact us” form that falls into an endless abyss is no longer cutting it, and social media is no longer a nice to have, but the lifeblood of customer service.

So, how do brands keep up with these rising expectations? Here are 3 considerations to help get you started.

1. Ensure all internal teams are working in tandem, toward a common customer-centric goal.

Too often, you see brands working in silos and not as integrated teams. Things like customer service don’t stop at a call center. User experience isn’t just something that should be considered for a brand website. A customer-centric approach is necessary to delivering experiences worth coming back to.

2. Listen to your customers and adapt to their digital behaviors   

Customers now expect a response from a brand within an hour. This applies to both the website and a brand’s social media accounts. Revisit your existing approach and work to figure out how you can better connect with your customers in a timely fashion. This may reveal staffing implications or efficiencies you never considered.

3. Build meaningful brand engagements, not just more digital touch points.

The most important attributes that make a brand someone’s favorite (after the product or service itself) are responsiveness to customer inquiries and relating to the customer on many levels. It’s about much more than building another mobile app or launching another social media account. It’s about walking in the customer’s shoes to make their journey a little smoother. 

These expectations of digital support systems are not just for multinational brands. They also apply to local businesses. Over a third of people cannot recall the last time they interacted with a national or local brand without the use of digital support.

As customer expectations continue to increase the need for digital support, it’s time that agencies and brands think holistically about their customer so they can deliver meaningful experiences, and not just add to the clutter.

Marti Post is the VP, Strategic Services, at Mindstream Interactive, a customer experience agency that helps clients identify and remove friction points from their customer journey. Born digital and results-obsessed, their diverse client roster spans industries and business challenges, building customer experiences worth talking about. The research in this article comes from their study, CX Revisited, Our Obsession with Customer Experience, and the Surprising Role of Brands, which can be found at mindstreaminteractive.com/cxrevisited