Today, 86 percent of customers are willing to pay a premium for exceptional customers experiences. As we move into 2020, customer experience will overcome price and product as a key differentiator for shoppers. So, developing stellar customer experiences for your audience has never been more critical.
Qualtrics, an experienced management company published The State of Customer Experience Management report for 2019. The company surveyed over 200 large companies with revenues of at least $500 million. Their report shows a snapshot of the current state of customer experience and how other companies are faring.
Here are a few crucial takeaways from the study. These insights can help you understand the steps you can take to improve your own customer experience efforts, and become a leader in your niche:
Most Companies Are Still Figuring Out How to Provide Excellent Customer Experiences
Only two percent of companies mentioned in this study were rated as providing excellent customer experiences. Seventy-two percent were either shown to offer “Okay” or “Good” customer experiences. However, companies recognize that they have improvements to make because 81 percent of respondents expect their organizations to focus more on these efforts within the next year.
Human Interaction is Key for “Solid” Customer Service Experiences
When asked to evaluate the experiences that were delivered across multiple channels, “on the phone with an agent,” and “being with an agent in a store or branch” were rated the highest. Experiences that occurred on chatbots or across multiple channels were rated the lowest. Regardless of today’s high usage of social media, or the continuing rise of digital interactions, customers still think human interactions are necessary and vital to the shopping experience. So, make sure you involve direct human contact, whether on the phone or in-person into your customer experience strategies.
Companies are Finding It Hard to Focus on Developing Customer Experience Strategies
While statistics reveal how crucial exceptional customer experiences are to customers—even over price and the product itself—companies are having a difficult time making it a primary concern. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said that “other competing priorities,” were the largest obstacle to improving customer experiences. However, limited funding (48 percent), internal group conflicts (47 percent), and a lack of a clear CX strategy (45 percent) are also top challenges. Customer experience has to become a component of your company’s mission and overarching goals. Once it does, it is easier to integrate it into your businesses processes.
Leadership Buy-In is Crucial to a Successful Customer Experience Strategy
Most of these companies (65 percent) have senior executive leadership, however among the CX leaders—those who are seen as having successful and mature CX programs— there is more buy-in from their top executives. Fifty-seven percent of CX leader companies said their CEO was either a “strong” or “very strong,” champion of customer experience. As with any new initiative or push for improvement, support has to start at the top. CX programs cannot flourish if senior leaders do not think they are of benefit to the company. As a business owner, if you think customer experience matters, so will your staff, so don’t underestimate the influence you have over situations such as this one.
It Is True—Exceptional Customer Experiences Do Lead to Higher Profits
The stat above that mentioned that 86 percent of customers are willing to pay more for excellent customer experiences is not a fluke. This study revealed that 71 percent of CX leaders reported that customer experience efforts had a positive impact on their financial performance over the past year. Only 38 percent of CX laggards reported the same findings. So, excellent customer experiences can lead to higher overall profits for businesses. Your company has to make an effort to focus on building programs that foster these opportunities.
Customer Experience is a Group Effort
Not only do senior executives need to be on board, but so does everyone else in the company. Sixty-four percent of CX leaders reported having significant coordination with their customer experience efforts across the company. This data reveals that customer experience principles have to matter to the accounting, marketing, operations, and HR departments. Everyone needs to work in tandem to ensure that customers are satisfied with the overall experience, from initial interaction all the way to purchase.
From the moment a customer first learns of a company, to the eventual purchase, these individuals are involved in constant interactions with your business. The feeling they leave with is indicative of their experience with everything from your website to a product demo. Companies are trying to ensure that all of these interactions and touchpoints provide a uniform and stellar experience. According to this study, many companies are still figuring it out. However, the ones that do stand to lead the pack in the next decade.
Be sure to read the entire study for even more crucial customer experience data and insights.
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This has been a JBF Business Media production.