The customer experience is integral to the success of any business, but with competition stacking up across every industry, improving CX has become more important today than ever before.
Let’s start off by defining what exactly the “customer experience” is and why you should care about it. According to SAS, the customer experience is “…your customers’ perceptions – both conscious and subconscious – of their relationship with your brand resulting from all their interactions with your brand during the customer life cycle.”
So, why should you care? Well, here are some important stats to consider:
- 78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience. (American Express)
- 89% of customers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing a poor customer experience. (Salesforce)
- 62% of organizations view customer experience provided through contact centers as a competitive differentiator. (Deloitte)
- 89% of organizations believe that customer experience will be their primary basis for competition by 2016. (Gartner)
Now that we’ve determined how much the customer experience matters, we can address how to improve these experiences. Here are 10 quick tips about the customer experience and why they are absolutely necessary for improving your organization’s bottom-line.
Tip 1: Provide Multiple Channels of Communication
- 46% of customers prefer to talk to customer service on the phone about complicated issues. (American Express)
- 38% of customers prefer to talk to customer service online or via email about simple issues. (American Express)
- 45% say that a better mobile service experience could have kept them from switching. (Accenture)
Takeaway: Your customers want as many channels of communication as possible, but they also require a seamless experience between these channels.
For more information on the omni-channel customer experience: 5 Reasons Why Retailers Need to Focus on Omni-Channel
Tip 2: Update Your Software
- 42% of service agents are unable to efficiently resolve customer issues due to disconnected systems, archaic user interfaces, and multiple applications. (Salesforce)
- 83% of online shoppers need support to complete a purchase. (Econsultancy)
- 25% of customers switch because they are tired of being kept on hold. (NewVoice)
- 65% of customers are frustrated by inconsistent experiences across channels. (Accenture)
Takeaway: Not every business needs robust software to succeed. First evaluate where you’re losing customers, or where you could be generating more customers, then make the appropriate changes.
For more information on updating your software: 7 Signs Your Call Center Needs a Call-Back Solution
Tip 3: Ask for Customer Feedback
- “The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations.” (Roy H. Williams, Marketing Consultant/Author, Wizard of Ads)
- 70% of companies that deliver a best in class experience use customer feedback. (Huffington Post)
Takeaway: Your customers may not always tell you when they’re unhappy. They may even leave you without warning. To avoid this, and the possibility of future complaints, be the first one to initiate the conversation.
Tip 4: Listen to Customer Feedback
- A “totally satisfied customer” contributes 6 times as much revenue as a “somewhat satisfied customer.” (InfoQuest)
- 53% of customers switch who they do business with because they feel unappreciated. (NewVoice)
Takeaway: Your customers have taken time to provide you with their feedback so you should spend even more time trying to surpass their expectations.
Tip 5: Don’t Make Customers Work Too Hard
- 59% have to expend moderate-to-high effort to resolve an issue. (Harvard Business Review)
- 96% of customers forced to expend “high” effort with a company over a problem are likely to be disloyal. (CEB Research)
Takeaway: Today, delivering a great product isn’t enough to retain customer engagement. Customers want a great product, fast service, and thoughtful customer care. Make sure your company offers solutions that have the path of least resistance.
Tip 6: Don’t Make Customers Wait
- The top two reasons for customer loss are when they feel poorly treated and when a company fails to solve their problem in a timely manner. (Harris Interactive / Right Now)
- 42% of customers expect a response within one hour. (Gigya)
Takeaway: Patience may be a virtue but not when it comes to the customer experience. You should be prompt and thorough when resolving an issue.
Tip 7: Be Social
- 83% of those surveyed said they liked—or even loved—when a company responded to them on social media. (ExactTarget)
- Failure to respond via social channels can lead to a 15% increase in the churn rate. (Gartner)
Takeaway: Consumers like when a company is both relatable and transparent. Social media helps make that possible. Typically, it’s also where your customers vent their frustrations, so it’s a great channel for you to ease the tension.
For more on being social: Twitters Impact on Call Center Culture
Tip 8: Make It Easy to Access Information
- 29% switch because they are annoyed by a lack of staff knowledge. (NewVoice)
- 55% say easy access to information and support can make them fall in love with a brand. (RightNow)
Takeaway: Make sure your staff is well-educated and up-to-date on all company policies and information. It’s also important to make that information available online. The last thing a customer wants is to wait on hold for hours when they could have resolved it themselves in seconds.
Tip 9: Make Customers Feel Special
- 71% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide good service. (Forrester)
- 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience, but only 1% of customers feel that vendors consistently meet their expectations. (Forbes)
Takeaway: Never make your customers feel disposable. The complaints you’ll see on @onholdwith are customers who feel like they just don’t matter to a company. The standard “Your call is important to us” message just isn’t enough anymore; having an agent call them back really shows them you care.
Fore more information on call-backs: Credit Union Increases Service Levels with Call-Backs [Case Study]
Tip 10: Map Your Customer Journey
- CX executive dashboards and customer journey mapping are the two customer experience activities that had the largest increase in focus for 2014. (Customer Experience Matters)
Takeaway: To create better customer experiences you have to see things through the consumers eyes. It’s the best way to spot and resolve issues you may have overlooked.
For more information on customer journey mapping: 5 Things to Know about Customer Experience Journey Mapping