The only way to establish and maintain a competitive advantage, is by having an obsession for customer experience. The way customers are treated by your business today, will determine how they chose to interact with you tomorrow.
Providing a positive customer experience is a make-or-break proposition, with the ability to influence future behaviors such as:
- Their willingness to consider you for another purchase.
Studies have proven that 91% of unhappy customers are not willing to do business with the company again. But companies which deliver a successful customer experience will be rewarded. Harvard Business Review reports that 80% of satisfied customers have no intention of leaving a company which they currently do business with.
- The likelihood they will recommend you to friends, family, and colleagues.
According to a recent study, customers are more likely to tell others about your business if it provides friendly, personalized service, rather than if you're providing a poor or generic service.
The importance of word-of-mouth shouldn’t be overlooked: 74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision.
- Their reluctance to switch to a competitor.
American Express reports that 3 in 5 American consumers (59%) would switch to another brand if it could provide a better experience. And Genesys reports that customers are far less likely to leave you when they experience a better customer support, typically defined as the ability to provide efficient assistance (according to 78% of customers) and make it personalised (according to 38% of customers).
In other words, if you want to make the next sale or experience a positive word of mouth one, and therefore keep your customers from leaving you, delivering a superior customer experience will ensure that.
To deliver good experience, consider your customers as partners
How can you design products and services differently so that customer needs are central to the process?
And how do you know which aspects of your customer experience customers value the most? What exactly do you need to do to improve that experience for each customer?
Businesses such as Amazon, Timberland, and Brainshark rely on customer feedback to answer these questions, feedback which is necessary in order to know precisely who their customers are and what they are looking for.
They see their customers as collaboration partners that help them grow and thrive. Systematically involving their customers at every step of the buying journey, which makes it easier to improve and perfect that journey.
This involvement starts with feedback surveys, an efficient way each of these companies use to gather customer knowledge, and gain insights into the various aspects of their customers' experience :
- What customers think about new or existing product and service ideas.
- How satisfied customers are and what should be done to further increase satisfaction levels.
- Who the most profitable customers are and what influences them to complete a transaction.
To paint a good picture of the customers and their experiences, surveys typically ask customers to provide insights into the following areas:
How likely they are to recommend you to someone else and why, this will help you gauge your brand loyalty and competitiveness.
What they would miss most if they could no longer do business with you, making it easier to identify your strengths and create quality measures so you can maintain those strengths.
But also regarding how they heard about your company, making it easier to identify specific channels on which marketing efforts should be focused. What prevents them from doing business with you, a question which will help you identify common obstacles customers face when interacting with you.
Or what you can do to make their experience easier, enabling you to provide a seamless customer journey.
Knowing and understanding what your customers expect and how well you are meeting these expectations is the first step towards designing an experience that delivers real value to your customers. Bear in mind the greater the value you deliver is, the greater retention and advocacy you will witness.
Customer Feedback, The answer to competitive customer experience
A customer feedback survey is a necessary touch-point as it enables your customers to influence the experience they have with you. Customers, who have increasingly become used to customer-centric business models, demand a high-level of personalized engagement from all the businesses they interact with.
In fact, McKinsey reports that the majority of buying experiences (70%) are based on how the customer thinks he or she is being treated. They certainly won’t think twice about leaving you for a competitor if you are unable to provide what they are looking for.
Customers expect businesses to recognize and respond to their needs but the only way a business can do this is with customer feedback, which provides businesses the knowledge they need to evolve their products and services to meet their customers’ changing expectations.
Implementing a proactive feedback strategy to target customers with relevant products and pain-free services is the only way to strengthen customer loyalty and develop a lasting competitive edge.