"...consumers are willing to pay a premium for an amazing customer experience, and disgruntled customers are much more inclined to transfer their business elsewhere than to seek to remedy a terrible experience."
By Hyther Nizam
In today's hyperconnected world, a bad shopping experience can drive a potential consumer to a competitor. While product and pricing used to be sufficient to separate a business from its competitors, this is no longer the case. Today's consumers place a premium on speed, convenience, and professional and friendly service. According to a 2018 PwC survey, consumers are willing to pay a premium for an amazing customer experience, and disgruntled customers are much more inclined to transfer their business elsewhere than to seek to remedy a terrible experience.
When people talk about customer experience, they frequently refer to existing customers. After all, it is substantially easier to market new products and services to existing clients than it is to acquire new ones. This is not to say that businesses should focus exclusively on existing customers. It is important for business growth to gain new clients, and customer experience (CX) plays a critical part in this process.
Optimise experiences for repeat customers
Remember that CX encompasses the totality of a customer’s journey (or journeys) with a brand or business. That means organisations have to understand what a customer experiences, right from the moment they feel the need to purchase and notice available options, to the subsequent research they do, zero in on your product/service, and make their final buy. Beyond this, organisations need equally to ensure that each part of the journey is optimised to draw in new customers and retain their loyalty post-purchase with a delightful after-sales experience that turns them into repeat customers.
A potential customer enters the experience economy the moment he/she feels a psychological need for a product/service and decides to act on it. For organisations, this is the first organic CX touch-point. In today's digital world, this touch-point can take the form of online advertising, appealing SEO-optimised websites, video testimonials, live chat, and sign-up forms. It’s clear that a good CX begins with impact-driven content that helps prospects find their way to what you have to offer.
It’s additionally important to remember that, while we might once have thought of the customer journey as linear, it’s increasingly obvious that this is not the case. A potential customer may go on tangents, get distracted and take breaks, and change the channels they’re using for research or to sign up as a customer. Organisations have to be able to cater to this non-linear approach while providing a consistently good experience if they’re going to keep attracting new customers.
Consider the generational shift in CX plans
Organisations also need to be cognizant of the fact that there’s a generational shift when it comes to customer experience. A recent survey shows, for example, that 51% of the Gen Z respondents ranked social media presence as the second highest factor, after "providing superior product/service quality", for brands to maintain relevance; on the other hand, only 13% of Baby Boomers listed social media presence; moreover, 78% of Gen Z buyers said they research or look at customer reviews most of the time before purchasing from a new brand. Gen Zs are also more likely to identify “not being able to find the information I need online” as one of the most egregious examples of bad customer experience. Younger customers are additionally more likely to use community forums, in-app messaging, and webchat.
It’s pivotal, therefore, for organisations to understand this generational shift and bake it into their CX strategies. This helps design a well-rounded approach that's considerate of traditional practices but at the same time forward-looking, which ensures that organisations don't get left behind. To achieve this balance, organisations should look to move towards a true omnichannel approach, which provides seamless, high-quality experiences within, between, and across channels.
Build exceptional digital experiences
Research from Gartner shows that today, nearly half of customers can’t tell the difference between most brands’ digital experiences (DX), and as a result, 58% of customers also believe that DX does not impact what they end up buying. However, according to Gartner, a course-changing DX can positively impact brand preference by 37% and behavioural advocacy by 54%.
Customers expect brands to meet them where they are and creating digital experiences enables businesses to engage with potential new customers in meaningful ways. Digital experiences can help companies stay ahead of their competition and thrive in an ever-changing environment by providing 24/7 customer service and support and tailored offerings and interactions.
*Hyther Nizam is the President MEA, Zoho Corporation