Why is Customer Experience So Important?
Updated: Sep 16, 2019
Seems like an obvious answer doesn’t it because we want customers to return? So we can make more money from them? So they purchase in the first place? So they tell their friends? So many answers… you could almost identify any answer to that question. But let’s discuss for a quick moment, shall we?
60% of participants in a survey by American Express identified they would pay “more” for a
better customer experience
That seems worth investing in, doesn’t it? When they suggest a better customer experience what are they referring to; simply put, it’s an improvement on the one they are currently experiencing.
Companies don’t do this well, at least not consistently. And I believe the crux of the issue is consistency. It is one thing to mention is that people only get angry when something unexpected happens - they are surprised - ie. “expectations set, aren’t met.” Companies don’t set expectations properly, or worse they allow their clients to set expectations on their behalf or even WORSE their marketing team/agency does it. Look at fast food joints and the pictures of their products, there are jokes aplenty about this. Companies lure customers through the door on false pretenses consistently, follow that up with tag lines or company mottos. If we were, to be honest with each other, they are a lie predicated on what companies believe their customers want and assumptions made. Harmless right? Lets review; “Built Ford Tough”. Ford Tough? Tougher than what exactly - GM? How is that measured exactly? See what was done there? An assumption made and a comparison left in limbo. But let's not pick on Ford the list is endless- Coke “Open Happiness” it’s a dream, by mere suggestion if you open a coke and drink it you will be happy, how do you live up to that? L’Oreal “Because you’re worth it” worth what? Did we think less of ourselves before, as if to say we weren't worth purchasing make-up?
My point is; there are expectations set, and when companies come up short, customers are disappointed, angry, betrayed, frustrated. Responses like - “but you promised (x) result” even though the results were merely implied or, “You told me I would have (x) by (y) and you failed”. This may be true, but why did we fail? The majority of the time it’s just a lack of communication and lack of focus on the customer.
Regardless, it is this that carries forward as our company’s legacy in our ex-customers mind, should we be lucky enough that they aren’t actually an “ex” customer and give us another shot are we going to care more? Idyllically, yes, realistically, probably not and here is the other side of that crux I mentioned earlier. Customers feel like companies just don’t care when they have a poor customer experience but the fact is; that 80% of companies believe that their customer experience was great! However, only 8% of their own customers agreed. How scary is that?!? How can a company be SO out of touch with its customers today? Lack of(?) Communication and Focus.
80% of companies participating in research conducted by Bain & Company believed their customer experience was great.
Only 8% of customers agreed.
Communication- The imparting or exchanging of information
Focus- The center of interest or activity.
The ultimate solution and when companies do this well, not even exceptionally well, just well customer experience metrics spike. Why? Because customers are understood, their expectations are set and everyone knows what is going to happen next, no surprises. It’s easy, right? So why is it so hard, according to Parature - Some 97% of global customers say customer service is either very important or somewhat important in their choice of and loyalty to a brand (sidenote: Customer Service falls inside Cx’s bubble).
Image Source: Acquire.io
So, all that being said our crux looks like this: consistency running left to right and Communication running up/ down with focus right there in the middle where the two intersect.
Focus on communicating with your customer consistently - BOOM. If something changes, let them know, if you offer a new product, let them know, if you change the price (sale) let them know. If they are in your store and they identify a problem through communication with you, focus on that problem for a moment and take them over to a solution you sell. If they say they are in a hurry, speed up the process. Easy-peasy Lemon-squeezy.
The moment you lose focus is when it all unravels, your team needs to keep focus all the way through and not get distracted *Challenge*. The fewer touchpoints you have the easier it is but not everyone can sell, execute and cash out. So, train your team, focus on your team. That’s a good portion of your job as an owner/ manager/ team leader - Employee Engagement. (More on that Here). Regardless of what anyone says, if you are reading this and have gotten this far down while still engaged, you are leadership material and should have a progression plan in place. If you aren’t the owner, print this, take it to them and tell them I said so if they still disagree have them call me, we need to chat!
Ok back to Customer Experience and the original question, why is it so important. It's the next battleground, with online purchasing battling it out for price, brick and mortar needs to add that little something more to improve the experience. This will give customers something else to measure against that may sway their next purchase. It builds trust, loyalty and revenue. According to HBR, it costs 5x-25x as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. Cx is a direct contributor to customer loyalty as shown through measurables that can and should be tracked. As noted in the HBR article linked above: increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25-95%. No matter how you slice it - that’s worth investing in and calling important.
Customer Experience has been referred to as the “Brand” of the future, it is that big. Build a strategy for it, communicate it to your team and focus on it. It will pay for itself many times over. If you need help or clarity on any of this, let’s chat!