Trust is earned, not given — it’s an old adage, but it sticks around for a reason. Most of us have encountered a person or an experience that didn’t feel right. It can happen with companies, too — in fact, one report estimated that lackluster customer service costs businesses more than $75 billion per year. According to the analysis, 67% of customers have become “serial switchers,” meaning that they’re willing to move brands due to poor customer experience.
These stark numbers make the case for getting customer experience right. In a day and age of serial switchers, getting it wrong for customers will likely cost you.
The Customer Experience Opportunity
According to Forrester, there’s extensive customer experience (CX) data to support the importance of focusing on how customers feel. The firm reports that when a customer feels appreciated:
- 76% will keep doing business with the company that makes them feel that way.
- 80% may spend more with the company.
- 87% will recommend the business to their inner circle of friends and family.
This is the flip side of getting it wrong for customers. Getting it right can mean driving repeat purchases as customers stay in spades.
Building Loyalty: The ABCs of Earning Customer Trust
When customers show up at your front door — virtual or otherwise — they bring their whole selves with them. That means you’re interacting with the entire person and their past experiences, belief systems, values, goals, needs, wants, and so on. The leadership that you bring to the equation, or don’t, meets that customer at your front door.
To better understand how leaders can build trust, Harvard Business Review analyzed the 360 assessments of 87,000 business leaders. They identified three key traits that must be in place for trust to develop –
Serving well means keeping your finger on the needs of those you serve. Know what they’re thinking about, keep your desire for results in check enough to care deeply, make it personal, and resolve conflict effectively.
People tend to care about seeing a strong example set and want to see a measured, responsible approach to solving problems.
This is where words meet action. In order to place trust in a leader or company, people must see you do what you’ve promised to do. Without impeccable focus and follow-through, a leader or brand can fall out of favor quickly or fail to gain traction in the first place.
Customer Experience Staples
What does customer experience mean? Let’s go over the basics and explore a key way of differentiating between types of CX, depending on the nature of your product or service.
Touch Points of Customer Experience
Your customer’s experience spans every aspect of your brand, including but not limited to:
- Store(s), if applicable
- Marketing, including tag line, tone of voice, and call to action
- Website, including user experience and speed/reliability
- Support options and accessibility
- Payment and financing options
- Return policies, including ease of making returns
- Shipping/delivery speed
- Follow-up on current transactions
- New solicitations, including text and email marketing campaigns
Any one of these factors can turn your customers on or off, so it pays to sweat every detail.
Engaging Your Customers: Smooth or Sticky?
The American Marketing Association (AMA) points to two types of customer experiences.
There are “smooth” customer journeys with a simple, fuss-free transaction or experience. In other sectors, the hope is for a “sticky” experience.
You might want a smooth customer experience with your bank, insurance company, or auto service team. Those transactions serve areas of your life where you need and want a reliable, easy outcome every time.
In other areas — such as fitness, entertainment, and food — variety is often your bigger concern, and companies that serve that need will deliver a better CX.
Beyond the Basics: The Road Ahead for Customer Experience
What are service-oriented leaders working on in 2021? Insights firm Gartner checked in with service executives worldwide to find out. Here’s what they found:
Your Transaction Ecosystem Matters
Gartner found that offering customers an array of ways to seek service doesn’t help — and only makes transactions more costly.
Being Proactive Is Key
Although most customers prioritize reactive service, research shows that proactive service is where pastures are greener for both the company and the consumer. Companies spend less, customers are happier, and the product is better perceived when the buyer is on the receiving end of proactive service.
A survey of 6,000 customers revealed that just 13% experienced outreach by a company that they’d consider doing business with.
Customer Data Has Value
The team at Gartner found that companies struggle to digest and utilize the voice of the customer (VoC) data. If used effectively, VoC research can tell you how many customers you’re retaining, whether you’re creating brand loyalty, and what you need to do to improve your products or services.
You can collect VoC data in many forms. If you speak with customers, you may hear about transactions that went awry. You’ll see user reviews on your site, comments on your social media profiles, detailed emails, or signs of frustrating user experience via your site performance metrics.
Enter Reputation Experience Management
As customer experience evolves to meet the demands of consumers, many companies are finding that they need to work from the outside in — starting with the customer, who has the power to submit online user reviews and social media comments — and build an internal strategy from there.
This seismic shift in how companies view customer experience has led to a new field within the industry called reputation experience management (RXM). According to an analysis by Forbes, “The brands that embrace a new and improved way of managing their reputation and design their organizations around it could be the winners in the feedback economy.”
CX Matters, in Whatever Form It Takes
Although few companies can claim to have customer experience figured out, the numbers tell us how much it matters.
The Skeps platform enables merchants to implement multiple loan options from various lenders at the point of sale. To learn how we can help you provide a seamless customer experience and land more sales, visit us online.