Customer Experience and Convenience Are Winning Customers

Customer experience is quickly emerging as the number one business differentiator and driver of growth — the battleground upon which customers are won and lost. A recent study reveals that experience-led businesses have 1.6x higher brand awareness, 1.9x higher order values, 1.6x higher customer satisfaction rates, 1.7x higher customer retention rates, 1.9x higher return on spend, and 1.5x higher employee satisfaction.

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Put simply, creating good experiences for customers is good for business. As such, companies now find themselves in a race against time — and each other — to delight and wow customers at every touchpoint and retain a leading edge in this new CX battlefront.

But what is CX, why has it become so fundamental to business performance, and are companies really as "experience-led" as they think they are?

Why Companies Need to Become Experience Driven

Practically everyone has had a bad customer experience at some point. Perhaps a sales representative was rude in a store or over the phone, or perhaps an online service made it practically impossible to delete an account. Such instances are not uncommon. And when they happen, they leave a lasting impression as to how we feel about the brand, and we may very well be reluctant to do business with it again in the future.

This, indeed, appears to be the reality retailers face today. A recent report from Acquia — Closing the CX Gap: Customer Experience Trends Report 2019 — found that globally, more than three-quarters (76%) of consumers switch to a brand competitor after just one single bad experience.

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Customers are no longer comparing like-for-like competitors anymore — they're comparing their experiences with one brand against all other experiences they've had with all others.

The second edition of the State of the Connected Customer report from Salesforce makes it clear just how important experiences are to today's customers. Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed said they would be willing to pay a premium to companies that offer superior experiences, and 80% said that the experience a company provides is just as important as its products and services. In addition, 95% said they are more likely to be loyal to a company they trust, and 67% said that their standard for good experiences is higher than ever.

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Today's customers are just as likely to take their business away from a company based on CX as they are to be drawn to one. In the study, 57% said that they have stopped buying from a company because a competitor provided a better experience and 62% said that they share bad experiences with others.

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But are brands meeting customers' CX expectations? The majority certainly think they are. According to Acquia's findings, 87% of marketers say they are delivering engaging customer experiences. But consumers aren't convinced. In fact, the same report finds that nearly half of consumers say brands don't meet their expectations, and two-thirds cannot recall when a brand exceeded them. The Salesforce report paints a similar picture — 51% of customers say most companies fall short of meeting their expectations for great experiences, and 54% don't believe companies have their best interests in mind.

Further research from Forrester's Customer Experience Index confirms these findings. The report reveals that there is widespread CX stagnation across organizations. Defining an experience-led business as one that is invested in CX across people, processes, and technology, the research found that only 31% of businesses are truly experience-led, despite the fact the vast majority believe they are.

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Final Thoughts

The importance of becoming an experience-led business in 2020 and beyond is clear. Good CX wins customers, increases retention and satisfaction rates, and results in higher order rates and a higher return on spend. Bad CX, on the other hand, loses customers. As there is clearly a huge gap between commitment and actual achievement, retailers today must do more than simply talk about CX — they need to make real moves to improve it and invest in the people, processes, and technology to start delivering the convenience and personalized experiences that customers expect.

To do this, brands need to realize that customer experience is embedded in everything a company is, says, and does. Indeed, CX isn't just friendly customer service representatives. It's marketing materials. It's product. It's packaging. It's social media, websites, emails, happy employees, and everything in between.

In short, an experience-led business is one that realizes that CX is everything and everything is CX. As Shep Hyken, CX expert and bestselling author of The Convenience Revolution, puts it: "Customer Experience has moved from being focused on customer service to the entire experience a customer has with the company. That means every interaction, large or small, and that includes any and every interaction the customer has with the organization's employees, the packaging of products, the experience of navigating through a website, advertising/marketing messages via traditional and digital, interactions on social media, etc. In the coming years, organizations, big and small, will recognize that CX is as important as anything else they offer their customers."

Customer experience is set to be a hot topic at eTail Europe 2020, taking place in June at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London.

Download the agenda today for more information.

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