Give customers a great experience, and they’ll buy more, be more loyal and share their experience across platforms. That’s what every company strives for. Yet so many consumers seem disappointed. Given this disconnect, it can be said that brands often ignore or invested in—the most meaningful aspects of Customer Experience (CX).
This thought got reflected in a recent study that reveals that while a positive CX with brands is a primary driver in consumer buying decisions, CX over the past year did not improve or has gotten worse.
The study done by Alida that surveyed 5,300 consumers across five countries (Australia, Canada, India, U.K, and U.S) also suggests that customers, however, are willing to help companies improve their CX, but feel their voices are not being heard. The result is a negative impact on sales and long-term brand loyalty.
The study found that at least eight out of 10 customers indicated they’re willing to spend more for a better customer service experience, placing greater emphasis on their personal experience versus convenience. Bad personal experience (79%) and poor brand reputation (65%) were also cited as the biggest influences in making a purchase.
Despite this, 52% of those surveyed said that over the last year, CX did not improve or was worse. The biggest offenders: banks, in-person retail, and credit card companies.
Ninety-five per cent (95%) of consumers, however, are willing to help brands improve in these and other areas. Unfortunately, 75% believe brands are simply not listening to their feedback, and one in ten believes businesses will never use customer feedback to inform business decisions.
“The past year has seen a fundamental shift in how consumers interact with brands, forcing companies to change the way they engage with and stay close to their customers,” says Nicole Kealey, Chief Strategy Officer, Alida.
“Being reactive is no longer a viable business strategy. Our study shows that business leaders are missing out on a tremendous opportunity to harness the insight and opinions directly from their customer base to create a better customer experience, drive sales and increase customer loyalty,” says Kealey.
The study warns that ignoring customers comes with consequences as four out of five consumers state that they are highly motivated to do business elsewhere after a bad customer experience. The majority of respondents stated that they are also likely to leave a bad review, something that can have a negative long-term impact on a business given that negative social reviews influence the purchase decision of six in ten respondents.
“As all industries look to best navigate a post-pandemic world, companies must understand that one of their most important assets to success is a happy customer,” adds Kealey.
She says, “A customer who has enjoyed your products, services and experiences will come back again and recommend you to their friends and family. But competition will become fierce and optimizing every step of the brand experience will be critical. To do so, brands must integrate CX into their overarching business strategy and employ the tools they need to truly understand their customers and take action.”
Likewise a recent Forrester Consulting study, commissioned by Sprinklr, notes that 93% of decision makers don’t feel they have the right features in their existing technology stack to deliver. The desire for a holistic customer experience accelerated when the global pandemic shifted consumer expectations, creating more challenges to delivering on the promise of an improved CX.
The results showed that despite prioritizing better, more secure, and seamless customer experiences, leaders still face significant barriers. For example, 82% reported that CX strategy is top of mind for the coming year, but less than one-third aligned their digital transformation strategy to their CX strategy. Forrester’s 2021 CX Index revealed that the majority of brands’ CX was indistinguishable from their competitors, and no brand reported delivering an outstanding customer experience.
Meanwhile in another study by Zendesk, one gets a more positive outlook on CX as far as Indian enterprises are concerned. The study says businesses in India are increasingly investing in CX as a means to grow their business as compared to other countries in the Asia Pacific region.
The Zendesk study, done in partnership with Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) believes that most Indian organizations (88%) accelerated their CX projects over the past 12 months compared to their counterparts in South Korea (67%), Australia (65%), Singapore (62%), and Japan (37%).
“In fact, our research with ESG confirms that the customer service function has evolved from a cost centre to become a revenue driver for businesses,” says KT Prasad, MD & RVP, India & SAARC, Zendesk.
Indian organizations who realized this have made great strides in maturing their customer experience capabilities, and are seeing the results.
Indian organizations lead globally in their enthusiasm for a conversational future, with 79% of them agreeing that chat and social channels are most used by customers today and 100% predicting this will remain the case in the future.
“The findings indicate that the shift to digital and remote work during the pandemic served as a trigger for companies to accelerate their adoption of new technologies, policies and processes to benefit from a higher CX Maturity,” added Adam DeMattia, Director of Custom Research at ESG. “Across Asia Pacific, Champions recognize that service excellence can be a differentiator, and are actually accelerating investment in CX projects.”
One thing clear is that in today’s digital-first economy, improving one’s customer experience is critical and hence businesses – regardless of industry, size and life cycle – must continue to invest and innovate in CX for long term success and growth. Are the CX leaders listening?