Improving Customer Experience: It’s the Future of Good Business
It’s pretty easy to describe a good customer experience. In some cases, it starts with being greeted when you walk into a shop, or getting a friendly human on the phone in a short amount of time, or smoothly maneuvering through a pleasingly designed website.
Next, there’s the product or service. When either is of good quality for the price, you generally form a favorable opinion and are likely to become a repeat customer.
These elements combined form the total customer experience and its importance can’t be overstated. Especially if your company is one that does a majority of its business online; a place where you have but an eyeblink to prove to a stranger that you’re worth their time and that you can offer them a positive customer experience.
Regardless of the industry you’re in, improving the customer experience is the key to increasing retention, satisfaction, and sales. The benefits of good customer service take many forms but the best is its impact on your bottom line.
The numbers tell the story.
Companies that invest in improving their customer’s experience have seen, on average, a:
- 42% improvement in customer retention
- 33% improvement in customer satisfaction
- 32% increase in cross-selling and up-selling
Perhaps the most eye-opening stat: 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience.
Not moved by the positives? Here’s how a negative customer experience sends the needle in the other direction.
78 % of consumers have backed out on an intended purchase because of a negative experience. [Source: American Express] 91% of unhappy customers will not willingly do business with your company again.
No matter which side of the scale you find to be the most compelling or motivating, data from the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, drive the point further: it is six to seven times more costly to acquire a new customer than to maintain an existing one. Additionally, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase. Meaning, all those small, early sales new customers backed out of could have generated a significant amount, as in thousands of dollars, in long-term revenue.
**People talk. A lot. ** As we’ve seen, a positive customer experience impacts your company’s bottom line. Another way the customer experience can impact your business is the help or harm it can do to your company’s reputation.
A surefire way to earn positive recommendations via word-of-mouth is to deliver positive customer experiences. In the above mentioned American Express survey, it was discovered happy Americans tell an average of nine people about a good customer experience. Translation: you now have nine potential new customers coming your way full of trust and a favorable view of your product or service.
Again, looking at the flipside, word-of-mouth can also be a sales killer when you fail to deliver a positive customer experience. That same study that showed that, on average, unhappy Americans, tell 16 people about their negative customer experience. Bad news is potentially twice as bad for your bottom line. No one can afford that in the long term.
As we’ve seen countless times, social media is the complainer’s megaphone. With so many public-facing review sites, it’s dangerously easy for customers to broadcast their complaints and even easier for others to find them.
**Loyalty is hard to find, easy to lose. ** You want your customers to stay loyal and to do this, you must invest in providing the best customer experience possible. Making investments in delivering great customer service should not be viewed as a business cost but as a revenue-generating opportunity. The costs that go into developing a better customer experience will come back to you 10x over in sales.
Great customer experience increases loyalty, which is another way of saying: customers remember the experience longer than they remember the price.
It’s all about the experience There’s no way you can anticipate every customer issue. You can, however, anticipate the inevitability of there being an issue and make it easy for your customers to contact you. The ability to be both reactive and proactive in those times you need fix any problems your customers may encounter will pay off, literally.
By providing multiple ways to solve issues through self-service documents like FAQs and knowledge repositories, of through responsive services like email and social media, or live services like chat, phone, and cobrowsing, you’re elevating their experience not just as a customer but as a human being.
After all, your customers are like you. They like it when they’re treated fairly and they want to know they’re being heard. Put customers’ needs at the center of your business and stronger sales will happen. Your reputation will flourish. Your loyal customer base will grow.
Here’s one last motivational stat: 70% of unhappy customers whose issues were resolved in their favor said they would be willing to do business with that company.
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