Forbes recently stated, “Customer experience is today’s business benchmark.” It’s no surprise that the focus on the customer experience is the new trend as it is quickly becoming the primary differentiator for a brand. More and more, consumers expect to have a positive experience with the brands they choose to patron; no longer is a transactional relationship sufficient. When making this assessment, organizations often confuse customer experience with customer service but customer service and customer experience are no longer the interchangeable terms they used to be.
The customer experience is defined by more than just a solitary touchpoint between a brand and a consumer; it is the entire end-to-end journey for the customer, including how they’re impacted emotionally. And as the customer experience moves closer to the center stage due to its impact on reduced customer churn and higher revenue, more and more executives are making it a priority as part of their overall business strategy. In fact, a global study performed by Oracle showed an estimated 74% of senior executives believe that the willingness of a customer to remain loyal to a brand is directly tied to their customer experience. Coinciding with that, another study published by the Temkin Group showed that a company might see an additional 70% increase in revenue solely by investing in improving the customer experience.
“It is important that customer satisfaction becomes an attainable goal rather than a slogan”
Today’s constantly evolving marketplace has changed for everyone. Technology has allowed companies to connect with their customers in new ways. It’s not that customer service isn’t still important. On the contrary, it’s as important as ever. But it’s no longer the only focus of the customer experience. The new reality is that customer experience is set to be the top brand differentiator in 2021 and beyond. When research shows that customers spend 140% more with, and stay loyal for a period of up to 6 years to companies they rate with a high customer service score, it stands to reason that a company would be focusing resources and delivering a positive customer experience for such a high priority metric. Yet when Bain & Co. asked organizations to self-report their quality of customer experience, 80% of all polled believed they are delivering a superior experience. Their customers saw it quite differently – only 8% of customers thought they were receiving a great customer experience.
So what’s to be done to bridge that divide? The first step is to create a clear vision of what the customer experience exactly entails from your organization and have a clear understanding of the entire end-to-end journey, down to the finer points of how interactions at each point are received, all of which can be communicated to every member of your organization as guiding principles and eventually become a part of your organization’s DNA. The next step is to leverage the power of artificial intelligence, apropos of the digital transformations so many companies are currently undergoing. AI can save up to 30% in customer support costs while speeding up response times and answering up to 80% of frequently asked questions, leaving the more complex queries to be handled by a human agent for effective resolution.
“The willingness of a customer to remain loyal to a brand is directly tied to their customer experience”
The world has irrevocably changed, and the expectations that customers have set for those with whom they choose to conduct business have never been higher and resulted in further empowerment for the customer. This has only strengthened the importance of the customer experience. Constant nurturing and care towards the customer experience will contribute directly to higher customer retention rates and a more positive impact on customer loyalty, ultimately leading to increased revenue growth. It is imperative that customer satisfaction becomes an attainable goal rather than a slogan.
- forbes.com, The importance of Customer Experience in the age of instant gratification
- qualtrics.com, ROI of Customer Experience
- oracle.com, Global CX Study
- blogs.sap.com, The Customer Experience Edge
- customercontactweekdigital.com, CCIQ Presents: EXecutive Report on Customer Experience
- media.bain.com, Closing the Delivery Gap
- mckinsey.com, The CEO Guide to Customer Experience
- invespcro.com, Chatbots in Customer Service