On the State of Customer Experience
I have some thoughts on the current state of CX and hope that they help you better understand the quickly evolving importance of your customer’s experience.
CX is personal for each of your customers, but today that experience is shared with the world through the different social media platforms. The CX impression you give someone, regardless of the service channel or stage, will almost always be shared, especially if it is negative. These negative experiences effectively become landmines for your business. It is becoming increasingly important to provide great CX to avoid the multiplier effect of these social mines.
Would Your Customers Pay for Better CX?
Last year a company in the multi-channel customer contact center technologies surveyed 2,000 US and UK consumers. Not surprisingly, 93% of respondents would recommend a product or service after a positive customer service experience. The eye-opener, 99% would switch companies or brands after a poor customer experience, like having to repeat information, long wait times or lack of updates for problem resolutions. 32% of millennial respondents (18-24) would pay a premium for quality assured CX experiences.
In fact, all consumer demographics indicated that some form of upgraded customer experience is desired. This kind of data suggests that car dealers who apply creative thought to product deployment for service are rewarded. Dealership texting tool anyone?
Customer Service Impacts Consumer Perceptions
An Accenture Global 2014 survey revealed that 64% of global consumers switched service providers in at least one of 10 industries, which represents a 4% increase over the previous year. No surprise that 82% agreed their previous provider could have done something different to prevent them from switching.
What are some of the factors sending customers to the competition?
The standard varieties that keep on getting repeated: not resolving their issue on the first contact, lacking research to learn about ways to improve their customer’s experience, not providing multiple digital channels to take care of problems and language issues just to name a few. The indisputable fact is that businesses have yet to understand or appreciate that customer retention is far more cost-effective than customer acquisition. There’s no excuse not to invest in the management of the customer experience because it directly impacts the bottom line.
This research survey also revealed that after any negative experience in marketing and sales, 60% of global customers stopped doing business immediately, and 66% started to look for other options they hadn’t previously considered. A staggering majority of global consumers (85%) switched providers because companies make it hard to do business with them.
The report also found that consumers are becoming acutely aware of the data and buying preference these companies are gathering and are now coming to expect more value-added offerings. Think Amazon Prime. Just 21% of customers felt like their providers offered them a customized experience.
Things could, and should be better. Make the business more personal. I want T-Mobile to use my first name when they text me a reminder that my bill is due. Personalization is a very simple, yet fundamental piece of human interaction.
Don’t Stop at Improving Customer Service
Improving the customer experience is an opportunity, not just an exercise in futility. Even though we’re just talking about one small part of the CX here: customer service. But without proactively investing in anything less than a complete overhaul in CX, you only contend with a part of the problem.
The question becomes, what’s the value in that? We know that all things come to an end at some point. But while every customer relationship ends at various stages for a variety of reasons, it should never terminate prematurely because you neglected to invest in the experience a customer has. To continually improve customer service you have to define your organization’s standard for CX. Then comes a time to develop a strategy and roadmap to implement it.
Finally, you have to hold all work to that standard. With this in place, those relationships will not end too soon, and you have grabbed the opportunity to create and cultivate the CX. If your position is to say that negative customer experiences happen every day, and sometimes things get out of your control, you are taking an incorrect and ultimately expensive perspective.
Some customers cannot be saved, but most of us know that customer acquisition is more expensive concerning money, time, and resources than that of customer retention. If that’s true, then why is CX limited in priority, scope, and scale today? The answer lies in how companies value the CX role within its culture and vision.
You’re customer-centric, or you aren’t
Part of the challenge is that most businesses’ principals miss the gravity and transformative nature of CX because they think it’s only about customer service and support. It is an important mechanism in your customer’s lifecycle.
Your customer has a problem. They need your help and direction. These are the highest-risk moments in your relationship with your customer. But at the same time, these are opportunities to deepen your customer relationships.
Customer experience can’t exist as a reaction. It must be strategically proactive and span the entire customer lifecycle. It means customer service and support play a major part in the whole system of synchronized marketing, sales, product marketing, and with anyone directly involved with the customer.
Finally, everyone in business says that customers are a priority, but the reality is that very few companies are truly customer-centric.
The future of CX starts with creating a culture of customer centricity within the company and that works its way out to its ultimate destination, your customers.