Quality customer experience is critical to customer retention. In 2013, 62% of global consumers switched service providers due to poor customer service experiences, up 4% from the previous year (Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Survey). Also, poor customer experience results in an estimated loss of $83 billion by US enterprises yearly because of defections and abandoned purchases (Parature).
At a recent Right On Interactive company meeting, we did a group exercise to find out the most positive trends for customer experience, and what we liked about our favorite brands. Here’s what we came up with for the most positive aspects of the customer experience.
We all like brands that familiarize themselves better with us as customers the more we do business with them. Businesses can inspire further brand loyalty by making the customer’s experience easier as they acquire more information about them. Amazon’s ability to accurately make product recommendations based on what a customer previously purchased is one of the reasons why the company has had the strongest customer satisfaction and sales growth in the past. Another good example in customer familiarity was Starbucks. One employee described how when he visits Starbucks, the barista has his order ready before he gets to the counter. Little things like these improve customer experience and really stick with customers.
Businesses that offer incentives for brand loyalty improve customer experience. Customers appreciate the rewards they get for their business and are even more inclined to continue to do business with that brand. Clothing stores like Banana Republic and Old Navy are good examples of this. Loyalty incentives are mutually beneficial; the customer enjoys savings and the brand enjoys their continued business.
Obviously, the product is going to play a role in customer experience. Customers want products that are easy to use and fit their specific needs. Apple is an example of a company whose products fit this profile. Their products are relatively easy to use for consumers, even those who are not overly computer savvy. When a customer does need help, they generally have plenty of support available in store, online, or on the phone.
Great Customer Service
Sometimes a great customer experience can have nothing to do with the product. Even if a product is difficult to use, helpful customer service representatives can make a world of difference. Great customer service reps that genuinely care about the customer and go above and beyond their job description are difference-makers. I was on the phone with a Chase Bank employee recently who was not the correct person to help me with my problem. However, not only did she connect me to a person who could help, she also stayed on the line to explain my issue to the next person and made sure they could resolve it. It was extremely helpful.
Can a business provide a great customer experience all the time? Consistency is about delivering in the areas listed above on a day-to-day basis. When a brand can consistently deliver quality products and service, they create a distinct reputation for themselves. They don’t make mistakes very often. If the company does make a mistake, they own up to it and correct the problem. Texas Roadhouse fits this bill. Just about every time you walk in one of their locations, you can count on the same quality of product and service. The staff does its best to meet the expectations of the customer every time. Consistency is not being perfect; consistency is always doing your best to be as close to perfect as you can be.
For more information on why customer experience is important, check out 21 Reasons Why You Should Be Focused On Customer Experience.