Today’s consumers are more fickle than ever. They exhibit little brand loyalty, seemingly jumping ship to join whoever will offer them a more plum deal. Others are caught in a race to “keep up with the Joneses,” always looking to be the first to have the latest, greatest product.
The battleground appears to have shifted, and customer experience is the next arena in which businesses must compete. These four reasons explain why the shift has occurred and why customer experience is now vitally important to every business.
4. Substance over Style
Reports of customers lining up for days in order to purchase the latest Apple iPhone first or to nab the latest tech gadget before their friends pervade the news. It seems like customers value having the newest products available.
Yet studies show that product matters less to today’s consumers. A Harris Interactive survey indicated that 88% of customers cared more about the quality of service they received than the product itself; they didn’t need the best product or all the bells and whistles as long as the service was good. Similarly, almost 70% of consumers indicated they would change companies over poor service. This is the triumph of substance over style: You don’t need to have the best product, so long as you can provide superior experience.
3. Human to Human
A long-time complaint across numerous industries has been that customers are treated “like numbers.” Customers have long expressed the sentiment that they want to feel they matter to businesses; they do not want to be part of a nameless, faceless mass of consumers that allows a company to brag that they have the largest share of the market.
What this means is that customers do not want to be read scripts or interact with customer service reps who seem robotic or uncaring. They want empathy and compassion—they want to feel that they are being treated as humans as they interact with another human being. Companies that can deliver superior customer experiences exhibit this human touch.
2. Increase Customer Loyalty and Sales
Customers who feel they are valued and respected by the companies they purchase from are likely to become repeat customers and exhibit higher brand loyalty than customers who feel they are treated poorly. That’s good news in an era when it seems that customers will jump ship as soon as they look at you. Customers who have repeated, positive interactions with a company feel more satisfied with the service they receive. This, in turn, leads them to feel appreciated and valued, which in turn encourages the customer to continue doing business with your company. When they need something, they will turn to you first.
Satisfied customers are also more likely to recommend you to friends and family, and they’re much less likely to leave. That means you can increase the number of customers you have, in addition to your volume of sales. Satisfied customers will also give you more positive reviews. They may even advocate for your company, say, by reviewing you online.
1. Create a Competitive Advantage
There’s a saying in hiring circles that your people are your greatest asset; they help you compete more effectively in today’s cutthroat market. Your customers are also people—and they are also part of your sales team. Satisfied customers will give you repeat business and remain loyal, as well as advocate on your behalf. They might convince friends and relatives to switch companies.
Word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful advertising tools you can harness, and you can’t buy enough ad space to replace the power of a satisfied customer. Foster your relationships through call center technology and superior customer experience, and you will see improvements.