If you truly want to impress your customers with an awesome experience, an experience which gives them no reason to ever consider leaving you for a competitor, you need to (1) track your customers; (2) make their feedback actionable; and (3) develop a holistic view of the experience you are offering them. Businesses that fail to do these things not only tarnish their reputation but also drive customers to the competition.
In a 2015 Accenture study, more than 80% of B2B executives said customer experience is a strategic priority and that they would be investing more year-over-year in this area. And there is no question that this investment pays off. A 2013 Forrester Research study involving 7,538 consumers across 175 US firms found strong correlations between great customer experiences – those which rate highly in effectiveness, ease, and emotional engagement – and customer loyalty, willingness to repurchase, and likelihood to recommend a company to others.
For these reasons, successful businesses have come to understand the necessity of investing time, money, and resources into improving the customer experience, specifically via customer feedback mechanisms which enable them to:
- Better understand their customer journey across multiple channels and departments.
- See more clearly if the journey they are offering is desirable.
- Create a business that is unabashedly customer-centric.
And while it goes without saying that every business nowadays must talk with its customers to find out what is or isn’t working, there are some clear indicators you should look for to know if your business is especially at risk of customer dissatisfaction and an inevitable defection. If you are experiencing any of the following five problems, you absolutely need to consider ways to improve your customer experience. Investing in methods for gathering customer feedback to make these improvements is a good place to start.
1/ You are losing your customers
Research shows that a typical business only hears from about 4% of its dissatisfied customers. The other 96% just leave. What’s worse is that 91% of these people never come back. A good customer feedback program identifies how well you are meeting customer needs and alerts you to when you aren’t before it’s too late to take any action.
2/ You are not providing customers a smooth experience
95% of complaining customers will do business with you again if you handle their complaint successfully and in a timely manner. But if problems are falling through the cracks or your team is not promptly addressing problems, you will lose your customers forever, which results in a big lost opportunity for you. Keep in mind that customers who have their issue successfully resolved in a timely manner are likely to tell 4-6 people about their experience. With the right feedback program in place, you will be better positioned to track and address problems, giving your customers no reason to give up on you. Moreover, they will say good things about you.
3/ You are not providing customer a consistent experience
Your customers are no doubt doing business with you via multiple channels and departments but these various experiences lead to just one overall impression of your company. And when customer information is not shared across channels and departments, the customer will have an inconsistent experience, creating a negative perception of your business. In fact, 92% of surveyed companies have found a clear correlation between declining customer satisfaction and inconsistent service. Multi-channel, multi-department customer feedback will help to ensure smoother business operations.
4/ Your customers are not saying good things about you
Considering 90% of customers are influenced by online reviews, you can’t afford to have your customers talk behind your back. You need to think proactively: address your customers’ complaints before they share them with the rest of the world. Regularly gathering feedback will give you plenty of opportunities to address problems with customers before those problems become public knowledge.
5/ You don’t know what sets you apart from the competition
Clearly, today’s market place is highly competitive with 89% of businesses now competing primarily on customer experience. But if you don’t know how your experience holds up against that of the competition, you are operating at a disadvantage. After all, saying you have the best service isn’t the same thing as actually providing it. Gathering feedback to gauge where you stand in relation to your competition will clarify what you are doing well or what you need to do better.
Customer feedback is, without question, your best tool for making sure you are delivering an experience that is worth your customers’ money, loyalty, and good will. Let insights from your customers guide you in the delivery of an experience that will not only meet but exceed expectations. In the end, the more you are able to align your business operations with your customers’ expectations, the more successful you will be.