Do you have a brand that you go back to time and again? If yes, what is it about the brand that has captured your attention? Undoubtedly, exceptional customer service plays some part in this brand loyalty.
Having a great customer experience affects us as customers. We all have businesses we love, products we’ll follow to the ends of the earth, and websites we follow with almost religious fervor. Be it winning new customers or placating unhappy ones, CX has a central role to play. Going forward, this trend will pick up as more businesses start to prioritize CX in 2023.
The consumer experience management market is growing at around 17% every year.
But quantifying the benefits of CX has been a tricky track. Being inherently subjective in nature, CX is largely based on emotions and opinions, which can be hard to track. One person’s “helpful” can be another person’s “pushy.” However, the online buyer’s journeys differ from the sales experiences that most of us grew up with. Modern tracking tools and customer surveys can be instrumental in tracking the actual, absolute effect that a positive customer experience has on the business’s bottom line.
One such impact is largely visible in the exponential improvement of revenue returns.
An IBM report discovered that organizations that elevated CX transformation to the status of a business priority reported three times revenue growth in the past two years.
What is CX, and why does it matter?
Let’s imagine a coffee shop that you regularly visit. How would you rate their services?
Are the staff members attentive to your needs? You are a regular, do they greet you by your name? Do they take your order promptly and hand you your cup with a smile? If you have a problem, do they respond promptly, or is someone else sent to address your concerns? Do the staff members proactively reach out to you to understand your experience? All these questions touch upon elements of CX.
CX refers to how businesses engage with their customers at every touchpoint of interaction. It is the sum total of all interactions the customer has with your brand. Customer service is characterized as a transactional relationship that occurs on a reactive basis, which fails to ensure customer satisfaction. CX, on the other hand, encompasses the entire customer lifecycle from awareness and purchase to retention.
According to a Walker study, customer experience will overtake price and products as key brand differentiators.
So, why does CX matter?
Because the perception of how your company treats customers affects their behaviors and builds memories and feelings that drive loyalty. In other words, if your customers like you, and continue to like you, then they are likely to do business with you for a long time and also recommend you to others.
Overcoming barriers to customer-centric services
1. Keeping pace with customer expectations
Customer demands are at an all-time high. Customers want immediate attention, so fast response time is an important element of CX. Yet, the average response time for customer service emails is usually 12 hours!
This hints at a clear disconnect between customer expectations and the service they receive. If this happens regularly, customers will stop trying to contact you, and eventually, they’ll leave.
You cannot risk even a single bad customer experience because customers have a plethora of options to switch to.
In a Genesys banking survey, 61% of executives agreed that the bar for customer experience is continually rising, and 45% admit that they are failing to rise with it.
2. Striding through organizational Silos
47% of respondents flagged data silos as the biggest challenge to CX – The Big Book of Customer Insight and Analytics 2021.
Businesses today are collecting, generating, and storing data on more platforms than ever before. Between automation tools, CRMs, and website analytics, businesses have been stashing data in pockets across various departments. This fragmented data can make data analysis and insights into your customers difficult.
Companies experiencing data silos face the following challenges:
‣ Disparate view of customers
In order to get a good understanding of your customers and how they perceive your brand, it’s important to get a holistic view of their data. When the data is siloed, however, the insights you get are specific to only one type of customer, an area of organization, or a chapter of the customer journey, limiting the effectiveness and actionability of insights.
‣ Flawed decision-making
Executives base their decisions on intuition or personal experience rather than quantitative information and analysis. Thus, even if businesses are using the data, there is little guarantee that it is accurate and measured the same across departments.
The more silos, the more time it takes to compile and analyze customer data. A recent study by Forbes indicated that agents spend approximately 80% of their time preparing and managing data for analysis.
3. Bridging the innovation gap
Companies that view CX as the key driver of growth are more likely to invest in emerging CX technologies. But many have failed to step up efforts to innovate and meet customer expectations, ultimately losing out on revenue and customer loyalty. Without the right technology to process customer data and draw actionable insights, companies cannot respond to customer needs proactively. Technological innovation can reduce friction in the customer journey and help companies develop a better understanding of their customers.
4. Adopting advanced self-service channels
According to Gartner, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels by 2025, while 85% of customer service interactions will start with self-service by 2025.
In practice, self-service channels are designed to be accessible and discourage customers from seeking one-on-one support from agents. This way, they can be a valuable supplement to customer support agents, efficiently dealing with redundant and simple queries. But a poorly executed and maintained self-service solution can add to the agent’s burden.
According to Oracle, “too many companies are failing to execute self-service in a manner that actually serves customers and prospects.” So, if you are implementing a self-service solution just for the sake of it, it can be damaging to the CX.
5. Getting personalization right
According to McKinsey, brands that get real-time personalization right can deliver five to eight times the ROI of their marketing spend and lift sales by 10% or more.
But this is easier said than done. While personalization allows you to create unique one-on-one experiences for your customers, there are challenges that prevent you from getting it right. Failing to segregate meaningful information from the vast swathes of data generated every day can be a huge problem. Further data coming from different disconnected channels, applications, and systems can be difficult to assemble for a unified view of customer information.
A seamless cross-channel automation can simplify the customer journey, but when different teams come to handle different channels, it can become a logistic nightmare to offer a consistent, personalized experience.
Chances are that your business is focused on delivering better CX but somehow your CX strategies have failed to impress customers. The way out of this conundrum is to understand the impeding barriers that render your CX delivery ineffective and adopt the right blend of technological and human innovations to reap maximum benefits.