What is the best way you can improve your business? It's not to build an excellent product using the latest innovative technologies. The answer lies in improving Customer Experience (CX). But just how important is customer experience for your organization?
Customers don't just buy a product, they perceive the entire process as an experience or memory they recall when doing business with the company again. Customer Experience (CX) is the sum of all experiences and moments a company has before, after and while using a particular company's product or service. It's the customer's perception of the brand.
And no matter where you are in the world, every single company generally has an idea about how they want their customers to perceive their brand. This perception defines the ethos of the organization, or the overall essence.
“The customer’s perception is your reality.” – Kate Zabriskie
Most companies define this perception very early on, or at least, have a vision. Once this happens, they blindly assume that they provide this perception in the eyes of the customer. The truth is - the kind of experience a brand envisions is not always what the company is able to deliver.
This is what, in my opinion, separates the amateurs from the pros of customer experience. They know their level of customer experience far surpasses anything their industry peers are remotely able to provide.
Think about this - when a customer is wow'd by the experience provided by a brand, how do they tell their friends about it? Do they say that the experience was '30% better than the competitor', or do they say that it was 'simply amazing'? They probably don't use customer experience statistics to express their awe.
Customer experience is an emotional connection. Customers have to experience it for themselves, and this depends on the way the customer was treated during the customer journey. Every company should consider this whenever dealing with a customer - customers don't just interact with a brand, they immerse themselves in the experience.
Creating this emotional connection with customers requires the right mix of people, processes, and technology to make it happen. And things are not so simple anymore - technology has enabled businesses to go the extra mila for customers, making the market very competitive.
Why Customer Experience is Important
Customer Perception: Customers will form an image of the brand in their mind after interacting with any brand. They might find it so amazing that want to further engage with the company on social media and tell all their friends. Or, they might start believing that the brand is the leading industry expert in whichever industry they are in. Whatever the case, customer experience builds the initial brand perception in the eyes of the customer.
Future Outlook: A customer's perception eventually decides whether he chooses to do business with the company in the future. If a company was able to deliver a WOW experience from the very start of the customer journey right to the last interaction, you can expect to have a loyal and satisfied customer. But, if a single step is missed or if the experience provided was satisfactory, the customer will choose to go elsewhere. According to McKinsey, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.
Inspiring Advocacy: What every business really wants is a brand ambassador, or brand advocate. This is someone who is loyal and will pay for anything the company puts in the market, and root for the company wherever he goes. Think about the stereotypical Apple user who always has the latest Apple gadget in his palms whenever you bump into him.
Improving Business KPIs: Focusing on customer experience can help improve business KPIs by boosting sales and revenue, increasing the number of repeat customers, increasing customer engagement, and reducing customer churn. It's a really smart business move, if you think in terms of KPIs. According to Bain & Co., companies that excel at customer experience grow revenues 4-8% above the market.
Improving Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty: Consumers don't just want to buy something, they want a great experience that complements the product or service. This is why it's important to deliver a level of customer experience that delights customers and builds an everlasting relationship with customers.
Customer loyalty and satisfaction is influenced by a customer's emotions and experiences they share with the brand. Improving customer experience increases customer satisfaction and loyalty, which in turn, increases customer lifetime value (CLV).
Gaining a Competitive Edge: Technology has enabled businesses of all sizes to design, develop and innovate products & services much like your own. Due to ever-increasing competition, it has become imperative to try and stand out from the competition in whichever way possible.
Now, how can a business stand out from the competition?
One thing you can do is price your product or service lower than that of your competition. But, if lowering the price doesn't cut it, you need to compete on the basis of customer experience. According to Gartner, 89% of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience, versus 36% four years ago. If you focus on customer experience, you can gain a competitive edge by delivering an experience that surpasses your competitors.
Do you know how well your organization is doing in delivering awe-inspiring customer experiences? You should take our customer experience assessment survey to assess your current status quo and take action to optimize customer experience, develop a customer experience management strategy to implement it across the entire organization, and use customer experience measurement to assess the results of your customer experience strategy.