great marketers in 2022 – understand the importance of customer experience

Customer experience (sometimes labelled CX) is a hot topic in 2022. It has been a hot topic for some years and will remain so for some years to come. While customer experience is not the ‘silver bullet’ some seem to think, it is nonetheless a critical issue for most, if not all, businesses.

Consider these statistics:

  • In 2022, global spending on customer experience is estimated to reach $640
  • 74%of customers will switch brands if the purchasing process is too difficult for them.
  • 32%of customers “break up” with a favourite brand after one poor customer experience.
  • 86%of customers’ break up’ from a brand after two poor experiences.

While advertising can drive enquiry – the customer experience has a direct impact on every factor relevant to the lifetime value of a customer, including:

  • Conversion rates.
  • The average sale.
  •  
  • Repeat business rates.
  • Referral rates.

The average dissatisfied customer will share their experiences with 9 to 15 others, and some will share with 20 or more.

Still not convinced, well consider these research findings:

  • Maximising the customer experience can increase revenue by 80%.88%of customers are prepared to pay more for a good customer experience. 
  • 49%of customers have made an impulse purchase after an exceptional customer experience. 

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, customer experience is defined as follows:

  • ….. every aspect of a company’s offering—the quality of customer care, of course, but also advertising, packaging, product and service features, ease of use, and reliability.

This definition is important as it highlights the fact that the customer experience involves a great deal more than the service provided at the point of sale. The customer experience is impacted at every point and every factor in the customer journey. Consider, for example:

  • Research suggests that consumers expect a website home page to download in 3 to 5 Further, it indicates that visitors will not come back if it does not.
  • Most people will wait 2-3minutes on hold before getting upset.
  • 57%of customers find long hold times a frustrating part of the service experience.
  • 74%of consumers say they are “very likely” to choose another business after having a poor phone experience.

These statistics highlight that the customer experience starts with the first interactions with a business. These statistics also highlight that all avenues for communication can and do impact the customer experience, including:

  • The website.
  • Social media channels.
  • Email communication.
  • Telephone contacts.
  • Face to face contact.

What is more, research suggests that first impressions are very difficult to change. It takes only a few seconds to form a first impression, and that impression rarely changes. An actual irritation for me is businesses that sell to me while I am on hold. They are wasting my time – but they are also insulting me by using it to sell me more stuff – often before I have even made an initial enquiry. I will not purchase from businesses that do this – and I suspect I am not alone. 

Consider these statistics:

 

These statistics and many others like them highlight the importance of the customer experience throughout the customer journey. 

  • 96%of consumers say a good customer experience is somewhat more important to their brand loyalty than brand messaging. This statistic highlights the importance of the customer experience over marketing messaging.

What is more, research suggests that the importance of customer experience has grown since the pandemic began:

  • 50%of consumers say that COVID-19 has increased their prioritisation of customer service as a factor when deciding to do business with a brand
  • 80%of consumers feel more emotionally connected to a brand when customer service solves their problem
  • 30%of customers are willing to pay more for excellent service, a 6% increase over 2019

Of course, you might be thinking that the customer experience you offer is very good. Well, might it be, but this statistic is sobering:

In my experience, customer experience is the weakest aspect of the marketing of most Australian businesses. I come across few businesses that offer a great customer experience and still fewer that provide an excellent customer experience.

So, what are customers looking for in a customer experience? Research suggests that far and above the number one feature of good customer experience is a customised experience – one tailored to the needs, wants and expectations of individual customers. Certainly, there are factors of general importance (speed, attitude, patience, product knowledge, and empathy), but customising the experience to the target market’s needs when interacting with a particular type of business is the most important pathway to maximising the lifetime value of every customer.

Developing the optimum customer experience requires:

  • Understanding the customer journey and documenting each customer touchpoint.
  • Understanding the expectations of customers at each touchpoint.
  • Developing an experience that meets or exceeds expectations at each touchpoint.
  • Where possible, creating a remarkable experience -and thus memorable.

It is important to understand the customer journey and each touchpoint so the strategy can be customised to address each touchpoint – understanding customer expectations at each touchpoint, informing the experience delivered. The more remarkable the customer experience, the more chance it will be remembered and communicated to others. In this regard, it is interesting to note the following statistics:

  • 36%of consumers will share their customer service experience, whether good or bad.
  • 87%of consumers read online reviews for local businesses.
  • 72%of customers will share their good experiences with others.
  • 72%of customers will tell six or more people if they have a satisfying experience.
  • 63%say they will share information with a company that offers a great experience.

Research would also suggest that great customer experiences are almost always personalised. The importance of a well-researched, personalised approach to the development of the optimum customer experience is highlighted in the following statistics:

  • 80%of customers are more likely to buy when they receive a customised experience.
  • 59%of customers want the experience to be personalised based on past interactions.
  • 71%of customers feel frustrated when the customer experience is impersonal.
  • 72%of customers will respond to personalised messaging.
  • 63%of customers will drop a brand offering a lack of personalisation.

Curiously, another trend in terms of customer experience is a growing preference for self-service capabilities. Consider the following research findings:

  • 60%of customers now prefer digital self-service capabilities online.
  • 59%of customers say that self-service options improve the customer experience.
  • 81%of customers prefer to resolve an issue themselves if they can.
  • 88%of customers now expect brands to offer a self-help capability.

I would argue that the best approach to understanding and leveraging the potential fully in the customer journey and then developing a personalised strategy for the customer experience is to establish a brand community that provides the opportunity to:

  • Monitor comments and feedback regarding the current customer experience.
  • Ask questions about the customer journey and customer expectations at each touchpoint.
  • Test strategic options and fine-tune them based on feedback.

Another approach involves simply mapping the customer journey and determining expectations based on surveys of members of the target market.

Regardless of the approach taken to developing the optimum customer experience, it is worth considering some of the current trends, as follows:

  • 25%of businesses intend to combine the marketing and sales customer experience function.
  • By 2025, artificial intelligence is expected to drive 95%of the customer experience.
  • 40%of all customer interactions are expected to be automated by 2023.

These statistics highlight the growing role of digitisation in monitoring and delivering a personalised and consistently high standard of customer experience.

GREAT MARKETERS

  • Great marketers in 2022 understand the importance of the customer experience.
  • Great marketers in 2022 understand and leverage the customer journey.
  • Great marketers in 2022 prioritise the personalisation of the customer experience.

RECOMMENDED READING

ANOTHER INSIGHT

ACTION

  • Map the customer journey and identify the critical touchpoints.
  • Understand the expectations and needs of the customer at each touchpoint.
  • Identify at each customer touchpoint the opportunities for being remarkable. 
  • Establish a brand community as a pathway to developing the optimal CX.
  • Recognise that it is the customer experience that drives customer lifetime value. 

QUESTIONS

  • The customer experience is impacted by their experience at each touchpoint in the customer journey. What are the critical touchpoints in your customer’s journey?
  • The customer experience is impacted by their expectations at each touchpoint in the customer journey. What are the expectations of your customers at each touchpoint?
  • Research suggests that personalisation of the customer experience is central to maximising sales. In what ways is your customer’s experience personalised? 
  • Technology has a key role in developing the optimal customer experience cost-effectively. In what ways are you leveraging technology to deliver the optimum experience?
  • Research shows that the optimum customer experience is central to maximising the lifetime value of a customer. What are your strategies for delivering the optimum experience?

 

 

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