Customer experience (CX) has been a hot topic for a number of years now, with global brands like Airbnb and Apple setting the standard (and expectations) for what customer experience should look like.
As a result, CX – or ‘how customers perceive their interactions with your company’, as Forrester defines it – has become a primary focus for businesses.
But, what exactly are the benefits of CX? Here are some interesting and inspiring statistics detailing why it is so important.
Customers desire (and demand) better experiences
Due to the rise of seamless, on-demand services delivered by the likes of Deliveroo and Uber – consumers have become used to interacting with brands in a certain way.
Research from Salesforce tells us that 75% of people now expect a consistent experience wherever they engage with brands – be it through social media, mobile, or even in person. Immediacy is also in demand, with 64% of consumers expecting companies to interact with them without delay.
Interestingly, ThinkJar research says that 55% of customers are willing to pay more for a guaranteed good experience. The operative word here being guaranteed, as consumers are no longer satisfied with just the idea or promise of one.
Business consultancy Walker suggests that the rapid rate of digital innovation has had a profound effect on customer expectations. By 2020, customers expect companies to automatically personalise experiences, as well as proactively address their current and future needs – not just predict them.
Younger generations are said to have the highest expectations of all. Forrester’s ‘Raising the Bar’ report, in association with American Express, suggests that Generation Z expects brands to deliver tech-savvy experiences that are instantaneous, highly personalised, secure and entertaining. And while Generation Y might also share these expectations, Gen Z are more likely to abandon brands when they aren’t satisfied.
McKinsey suggests that one of the key facets of good CX is consistency, and that measuring satisfaction on customer journeys is 30% more predictive of overall customer satisfaction than measuring happiness for each individual interaction.
The benefits of CX
So, it’s clear that CX is now an expectation for consumers – but what are the benefits for brands?
Walker’s study also suggests that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. A good example of this is Amazon, where the delivery and convenience often acts as a driver for the products themselves.
This is backed up by Deloitte, who also says that the consumer’s decision to buy a product or service is impacted by their overall enjoyment of their experience.
In turn, customers display loyalty. In a study of 10,000 US consumers, Tempkin Group found that 86% of those who received a great customer experience were likely to repurchase from the same company. This is compared to just 13% of those who received a poor CX.
Tempkin also found a similar correlation between CX and trust, as well as consumers’ willingness to recommend a brand.
Meanwhile, a study by the Economist and Genesys highlights the importance of investment and support from the C-Suite. Many senior execs now recognise the direct benefits, with 33% of survey respondents citing improved customer retention as a primary benefit, and 28% citing increased sales.
The findings also suggest that in companies where the CEO or high-level executive is in charge of CX initiatives, the wider company is more likely to believe in the strategy. Consequently, the company is more likely to be profitable.
So, does customer experience have a direct impact on revenue – or is it just hyperbole? There’s a lot to suggest it can increase ROI.
Rosetta says that engaged and satisfied customers buy 50% more frequently, spend 200% more each year, and are five times more likely to display brand loyalty.
A study by Forrester found that CX leaders delivered compound annual revenue growth rates (CAGR) of 17% compared to just 3% for CX laggards in the period of 2010 to 2015.
While other factors could have impacted these rates, Forrester also found that customers who had a better experience with a company said they were less likely to go elsewhere and more likely to recommend it.
In a separate study by Deloitte Consulting, it was found that experience differentiation can lead to stronger financial performance indicators, especially when combined with product differentiation.
While CX is important across all channels, consumers’ attentions are increasingly turning to mobile.
In which case, the consequences of a bad mobile experience can be dire. WOW Local Marketing found that 52% of people are less likely to re-engage with a brand because of a bad mobile experience.
What’s more, 62% say that disappointment in mobile increases if they liked the brand or company to begin with.
Econsultancy’s CX Best Practice guide backs this up, with research showing that 50% of executives now recognise that mobile has a key role to play in defining CX.
Once again, however, more needs to be done to meet consumer expectations, with only 6% of organisations currently regarding themselves as ‘very advanced’ in mobile CX.
Uptake and investment
Despite recognising the importance of CX, it appears some brands are still lacking a coherent strategy.
Accenture’s 2015 CX survey found that – while 86% of B2B executives consider customer experiences to be very important – 57% of them are said to be stuck in CX mediocrity, lacking sound strategy and the ability to execute well.
Meanwhile, Dimension Data discovered that 52% of companies do not share customer intelligence outside of the contact centre. In other words, different areas of the business (such as sales, marketing and HR) are being left in the dark as to how customers feel.
To end on some good news – it seems investment is on the rise. Genesys predicts that investment in CX will increase a further 10% by next year. Meanwhile, Gartner expects that more than 50% of organisations will redirect their investments to customer experience innovations by 2018.