Customer experience is becoming a buzzword among businesses in every industry. But what is customer experience exactly? How significant is it in understanding brand perception and customer satisfaction? How can it contribute to business growth, and what are the ways to maximize its benefits?
Defining Customer Experience
You can find a number of definitions for the word ‘customer experience’. Some say it’s how consumers perceive your brand, while others define it as the after-sales support a business provides users.
It’s true that customer experience affects brand perception and is influenced by product and service quality. However, these are just a few components that make up a small portion of its full definition.
According to the description of Harvard Business Review, customer experience encompasses the interaction of a consumer with all business touchpoints and beyond, including the pre-discovery phase and extending to the micro-experiences that happen between each touchpoint.
Customer satisfaction starts with having an engaging customer experience, in turn leading to increased profits, enhanced loyalty, decreased overhead and improved relationships.
Why Give the Best Customer Service Experience?
There are a multitude of reasons why you should provide an outstanding customer experience. Several studies have been conducted showing hard proof of its importance in business growth, brand loyalty, customer satisfaction and other factors that contribute to an organization’s success and longevity.
Fig. 1. Reasons why businesses improve customer experience
Here are statistics, trends and findings to prove customer experience is vital to brand success:
- A Gartner study indicates that 89% of companies are competing on customer experience alone – up by more than twice the figure the company received from the same study conducted four years ago. This goes to show that the trend is about making the customer experience better and not just about improving product quality alone.
- Research shows that in the United States, around $41 billion is lost in revenue due to bad customer service. 44% of consumers look for alternative brands when they’re given inadequate service.
- You can’t control how customers will react. They may direct their concerns to you when they feel unsatisfied with your service, but oftentimes, they declare their discontent through social media channels. This is why social media has become a very powerful tool in promoting brand image.
For example, the value of United Airlines’ shares dropped by as much as 6.3% following the viral video posted online showing how one passenger was forcibly ejected out from an overbooked flight. The airline company even suffered a boycott from customers who are planning to buy tickets and cancellations from those who already purchased theirs.
- Consumers who belong to the Millennial and Generation X groups are more likely to trust the ads they encounter online and in mobile formats. This means your brand is tasked with maintaining a consistent omni-channel presence. One powerful form of this is user reviews, which 88% of consumers look for when determining the quality of a local business.
- A report from Nielsen revealed that 83% of the respondents trust recommendations from family and friends. This means successfully converting one customer offers a high chance of increased recommendations.
- Acquiring new customers costs more than retaining existing ones. The acquisition process will pass through more cost centers, eating a larger chunk of your budget that could have been used to retain existing customers.
Fig. 2. The benefit of increasing customer retention rates
The bottom line is customers want to be taken care of and appreciated. They demand attention and expect their problems to be resolved quickly and efficiently.
What Makes an Outstanding Customer Experience?
Customer experience undoubtedly plays a big role in a brand’s success, further emphasizing the need for businesses to conduct mystery shopping programs to help them heighten customer satisfaction.
Listed below are a few factors that have the biggest impact within the realm of customer experience.
Providing a self-service solutions center is good, but you still need to have a way for customers to get in touch with you. Integrating a live chat service is a strategic option to offer customers quick responses. Studies show that 77% of consumers are less likely to make a purchase if there is not a chat service.
Customers get frustrated when they are constantly forwarded from one team to another. Passing a consumer around from one department to another just because one team sees the matter at hand as an issue outside their responsibility contributes negatively to client experience. Providing the best customer service experience must be the responsibility of everyone in the organization, regardless of position or department.
The best customer service experience goes beyond first impressions. Offer exclusive discounts to new customers as a reward for subscribing to your business and always go the extra mile by treating them with value-added services unique to your business. Bringing personalized content to the table sends customers a message that you care for them and you want to build a long-lasting relationship with them.
Providing an excellent after-purchase service is not enough to deliver exceptional customer experience. Your brand must ensure the way it’s conveyed is the same throughout all touchpoints. The keyword here is consistency if your purpose is customer satisfaction. Consistency should be accentuated in product quality, service delivery, emotional connection, customer interaction and the availability of communication channels.
No matter how prepared you are, there will be slip-ups and situations that might lead to losing a customer. When this happens, remember that you always have a chance to gain their business once again, as 95% of dissatisfied customers are willing to return if their concerns are resolved quickly.
Ultimately, the customer gets the final say on whether or not your company is delivering on your brand standards and promises. Businesses must continuously evolve if they want to survive and thrive in this growing market. By listening to customer demands and acting on feedback given, you can learn to adapt your business strategies to offer an outstanding customer experience.
To make sure your brand delivers the best customer service experience, it’s highly advisable to hire professional market research and mystery shopping companies. The actionable insights received from guided mystery shoppers that analyze how your brand delivers on consumer expectations are crucial to any brand’s success.
Forge an unforgettable customer experience by starting a mystery shopping program with SeeLevel HX today.