Superior customer experience is being touted as the key competitive advantage for businesses in the future. Some estimate that by the year 2020, customer experience will be more important than price and product in creating brand differentiation. Even now, 86% of customers will pay more for a better customer experience.
You must believe that your competitors are aware of the importance of customer experience. Gartner predicts that more than 50% of companies will redirect their investments to support customer experience innovations. The reason for this is simple: better customer experience means a better bottom line:
- 42% of businesses improve customer experience to improve customer retention.
- 33% of businesses improve customer experience to improve customer satisfaction.
- 32% of businesses improve customer experience to increase cross-selling and up-selling.
So, what do you need to do to win at customer experience? Here are four key trends* that you should consider in developing your customer experience strategy.
- Multi-channel servicing will become more important. Customers interact with your company across multiple channels: online, mobile, offline, via social media, in person, etc. Customers understand that they are approaching you through different channels, but what they don’t understand is why the communication should be inconsistent:
- 89% of customers become frustrated when they must repeat information to multiple representatives.
- 87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into delivering a more consistent and seamless experience across channels.
Research has shown that brands with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain more than 89% of their customers, compared to only 33% for brands with weak omnichannel engagement strategies.
- Mobile customer service will continue to grow in demand and importance. This isn’t news to anyone, but it bears mentioning how critical mobile and the mobile customer experience is in our world today. Currently, mobile service will deliver 27.8 billion more queries than desktop searches. That may be why 84% of companies who claim to be a customer-centric focus on mobile service experience. Keep in mind:
- 66% of customers agree that “If I like the brand or company, I’m disappointed if the mobile site is a bad experience.”
- 55% of customers agree that “A frustrating experience on a website hurts my opinion of the brand.”
- 52% of customers say a bad mobile experience makes them less likely to engage with the company or brand.
Importantly, 90% of customers say they have had a poor experience seeking customer support on mobile, so it appears there is room for improvement!
- Poor customer experience leads to churn. It doesn’t matter how much your customers love your price or your product; they have many choices today, and poor customer experience will drive them to your competitors. Moreover, it does not stop with that customer: 13% will tell 15 or more people about their bad experience. (Compared with 72% of customers who will tell 6 or more other people about their good experience.) Don’t rely on what you hear from your internal data: only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers complain.
- Self-service rules. Customers want to be able to solve their questions and issues themselves, so it is imperative that businesses provide those options:
- 50% of customers think it is important to solve product or service issues themselves.
- 70% expect a company’s website to provide self-service applications.
Predictions are that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of the relationship with a company without ever interacting with a human being.
It doesn’t matter what kind of business you’re in – improving the experience for your customers is the key to winning in the marketplace, and these four trends should form the foundation for driving your future customer experience improvement. The other part of your foundation is customer knowledge: to deliver on these trends, you must know more about your customer – and know them better – than ever. Combing customer knowledge with customer experience design will give you the best advantage for winning in the future.