There is a huge difference between value and worth, and customer experience (CX) is one such element that can make a significant difference. Today with a wide range of available options for any type of product or service, it is CX that makes a brand shine or fade amidst stiff competition.
With customer behaviour and priorities changing rapidly, there is a need to rethink ways in which CX is delivered. Not only do customers want connected journeys and seamless transitions across channels, but they also expect experiences to be tailored to their circumstances. A delightful CX is key to shoring up long-term relationships and creating sustained value and the faith that the C-suite has in this notion is increasingly getting stronger.
Moreover, customers today rely on the reviews and ratings given by fellow consumers. These ratings, as we know, influence purchase decisions to a far greater extent today than advertising campaigns or promotions do. Be it a restaurant, a TV show, a resort, a cab service, a smartphone, or any other product or service, people will be curious or willing to try it out if it is rated more than 4 on a scale of 5, or more than 8 on a scale of 10. This is because ratings are perceived to be a reasonable reflection of CX over a large number of reviews. And then, of course, reviews also sometimes highlight specific details of what works and what doesn’t. To consistently earn high ratings from users, brands must examine what drives CX in its entirety.
The key to loyalty and differentiation
A joint study we recently conducted with EQUiTOR Value Advisory provides further evidence that customer experience is a key factor in determining customer acquisition, loyalty and retention. The findings revealed that 52 percent of purchase decisions are based on the experience that consumers expect from brands, not so much the reputation of the brand. Surprisingly, it emerged that almost all leading brands fall short of meeting this expectation by a margin of more than 30 per cent.
Almost 63 percent of respondents in the study said they were willing to pay a premium for a superior experience, irrespective of the value of the purchase, if the brand understood their needs, made them feel valued, and provided what they wanted when they wanted it. Around 45 percent of the respondents who were extremely satisfied with their experience of a brand said they were highly likely to continue using the same brand.
These findings prove, yet again, that CX can help strengthen customer loyalty and help brands differentiate themselves from competitors. In the study, brands in segments such as personal care, e-commerce, online delivery, and grocery exceeded the average satisfaction levels of customer experience and, consequently, succeeded in gaining greater loyalty as compared to brands in other sectors.
Great customer experiences beget brand recall and advocacy
Every brand would love to enjoy instant recall among its target audiences. By delivering customer experiences that meet and exceed expectations, companies can greatly enhance the probability that buyers will notice, recognize, and consider their brand while making a purchase decision. Our study revealed that companies which scored moderately high on fulfilling customer experience expectations, enjoyed a high share-of-mind, with more than 65 percent of respondents recalling the brands almost instantly.
If a brand succeeds in consistently delivering great experiences, its customers could well automatically become its ambassadors. The aforesaid study revealed that, brands that scored highest in fulfilling customer experience expectations, also carried high advocacy scores, with more than 90 percent of users likely to recommend these brands to others.
Delivering great customer experiences is not a siloed responsibility
CX today is about what you promise, and how you fare on that promise. It would be a mistake to think of it as the exclusive responsibility of the marketing or the service teams. Furthermore, the CX should be measured periodically to evaluate whether the promise is still relevant and being delivered on. The entire organisation, across business functions and across ranks, must be defined by and aligned to a singular promise. An enterprise that aligns every critical process, function and relationship around CX has a higher chance of emerging a winner.
Going forward, CX will be neither binary nor transactional. It will have to be relational and available across multiple channels. It will be imperative for companies to focus on making the offline and online experiences user-friendly, engaging and easy to transact on. If the customer is king, the CX should make them feel like one. In the end, companies that build their critical processes, functions, and relationships with CX at the core are more likely than others to emerge winners.
Note to readers: Storyboard18’s new Month In Focus initiative spotlights themes and topics that are pushing marketers to reshape and rethink how brands interact with today’s customers. Our theme for this month is Stacks & Strategies, a martech and adtech spotlight on how decision makers and marketers are advancing the adoption of new technologies and tech-driven strategies in the brand marketing ecosystem. From the defining trends and preparing for a cookiepocalypse to how progressive martech strategies help fast track business and brand growth. Catch this special on Storyboard18.