Why you need to focus on Customer Experience
Today, as companies find it harder to differentiate their products and services, and customers demonstrate less brand loyalty than ever before, the ability to deliver superior customer service and experience is the key to maintaining a competitive edge. Many entrepreneurs immediately turn to price discounts as a way to differentiate and gain customers. Reality is however, you can only go so far with discounting before your margins are decimated and you run out of cash to keep your business alive.
Creating a strong customer experience program with a focus on customer service is one way to increase your competitiveness. Creating a culture of high-level customer service will set you apart from competitors offering identical products or services. Here are some key stats from a recent study by WalkerInfo.com:
- 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience
- 73% of buyers point to customer experience as an important factor in purchasing decisions
- 65% of buyers find a positive experience with a brand to be more influential than great advertising
- By 2020, customer experience will overtake price as key brand differentiator
How do you drive a superior customer experience?
How you treat your customers affects their behaviors and perceptions of your company, which ultimately drives their loyalty toward your business. In other words, if they like you and continue to like you, they will be less likely persuaded to go to a different company just based on cheaper price.
Another important finding for the WalkerInfo.com study showed that customers are willing to pay a price premium of up to 13% (and as high as 18% depending on type of product/service) simply by receiving a great customer experience. Imagine adding 13% to your bottom line and to your profit margin just by focusing on customer experience versus trying to create the next viral advertisement on your social media page.
So, what steps can you take to begin elevating your company’s customer experience?
- Gather feedback from your customers. This seems very obvious, but it is one of the hardest things for entrepreneurs to do. Perhaps it’s a fear of potentially hearing negative things from your customers or finding out that maybe your product or service isn’t really that great. However, without this first step, you won’t know where to being to address customer service issues. Reach out to your current customers and find out why they purchased from you and what they would like to see improved. Reach out to prospects that didn’t convert and find out why they didn’t choose your service or product. You’d be surprised the amount of useful data you can gather just by talking to your prospects and customers.
- No matter which direction you proceed with your customer experience, make sure it stays consistent. A report by Accenture found that 89% of customers get frustrated because they need to repeat their issues to multiple representatives. Once you’ve established your customer experience processes, ensure everyone on your team is trained to deliver the proper customer experience that is consistent with how you want your customers to perceive your company. From our experience, it only takes one untrained or unprepared team member to cause a major disruption in your customer experience initiatives.
- Stay on top and utilize technologies in your industry to make your customer experience more seamless. A great example is the recent rise in company’s focusing on reaching customers via mobile platforms. According to an infographic compiled by Experience Dynamics, 52% of users said that a bad mobile experience made them less likely to engage with a company and users are 5 times more likely to abandon a task if a site isn’t optimized for mobile. What this means is that if you are integrating your website or company app to extend your customer experience, make sure it is mobile ready and working properly on smart phones and tablets.
Why is customer experience so important?
Aside from boosting your revenues and keeping good clients, here are some stats compiled by the CEO of ThinkJar that should convince you why focusing on great customer experience is vital:
- 1 out of 26 unhappy customers complain, the rest just leave.
- It is 6 – 7 times more expensive for companies to attract new customers than to keep existing customers.
- 66% of consumers who switched brands did so because of poor service
- 85% of lost customers due to poor service was preventable
- 67% of customer loss is preventable if the customer issues are resolved at the first engagement.
In summary, the best thing you can do to help your competitors succeed is to not deliver great customer experience and service. With more and more competitors in any marketplace, you need a differentiating factor to convince customers why they should go with you. Although having a good product is important, how you deliver those goods and services is equally important. Companies that actually dedicate investment toward their customer experience programs are the ones that succeeding in today’s highly competitive business world. Think Apple Store, Disneyland, Endy, and Amazon – they’ve figured out how to deliver superior customer experience, which is why their competitors are few and far between.