And the right time to take them is right now.
Many studies, including those cited here (link to: https://www.superoffice.com/blog/customer-experience-statistics/) indicate that most companies believe customer experience (CX) is the single most exciting opportunity for 2018.
These same studies show that by the year 2020, customer experience will have overtaken price and product as the key brand differentiator.
In other words, now is the time to act if you want to remain competitive.
Nicholas J. Webb, in his bestselling book, “What Customers Crave,” sites that statistically, for every bad review received, there are 26 more unhappy customers who will take their business elsewhere without ever complaining.
Consumer research indicates that 67% of consumers mention bad customer experiences as a reason for churn.
Research also tells us that 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience. Increasingly, these customers are abandoning businesses that don’t meet their customer experience expectations because they can find one that will.
We have only to look at our own experiences as customers to know this is true.
And consumers’ expectations are getting higher all the time.
It can no longer be denied that the hyper-connected world we live in has given consumers unprecedented power and influence. No longer are your customers comparing you to your closest competitors. They’re comparing you to the best experiences they have with their favorite big brands, such as Apple and Amazon.
So what do consumers want?
The best approach is to start asking them, and track the right data for key indicators about behavior. Customers want to be heard and understood. They want you to know what they love and what they hate. Ultimately, they want an experience that caters to their preferences.
Marketing research backs up the fact that we all have a natural preference, which is to follow the path of least resistance. This principle applies to consumers, including your customers. Given a choice, they will choose ease and convenience over price.
Give them the easiest, most effortless customer journey that caters to their likes and dislikes, while delighting them with value that exceeds their expectations, and you will win their loyalty. And, as you know, loyal customers return – again and again – and they bring their friends and family along.
Here are the 4 crucial steps you’ll want to begin taking now to stay competitive in today’s hyper-connected, hyper-competitive environment:
Build a customer centric culture throughout the company. As with any cultural initiative, this must come from the very top of the organization, and leadership must demonstrably live their stated values.
Get to know your customers on a deeper level. Dig deep into customer data and feedback to distinguish customer types, understand their likes and dislikes, and buying behavior.
Design every aspect of your customers’ journey to make them feel special, valued, respected, and appreciated at each and every touchpoint.
Empower customer-facing employees to personalize the customer’s experience. This ensures agile responsiveness that leads to customer satisfaction and loyalty.
No matter what business you’re in, providing your customers with the experience they tell you they want, and building it to exceed their expectations is only an investment worth making if you want a more successful company, higher profits, and happier customers.
Imagine your business flawlessly delivering the kind of customer experiences that engender loyalty from raving fans of your brand!
Imagine having such a solid foundation of customer loyalty and trust, that on the rare occasion when things go awry, (such as a package delivered to the wrong address, or a meal not prepared to order) you know that you’ve proactively provided for the elegant handling of those events. You’ll know that your employees have been prepared and empowered to respond quickly and appropriately in a way that leaves your customer satisfied, with a positive memory and story of how your company resolved their issue to their satisfaction.
Imagine knowing you have earned the loyalty of your customers, and that they will return again and again. Imagine seeing your customer base grow from referrals by your loyal customers. Imagine the outstanding reviews you will get from customers who love how they feel when doing business with you.
After taking the 4 steps, above, you’ll no longer have to imagine it. It will be your new reality!
Carey R. Allen is a Customer Experience Designer, specializing in the Food and Beverage industry