The Importance of Customer Experience in 2015; and Into 2016
Customer experience is at the root of best business practices. The way patrons are treated can greatly affect the bottom line.
According to Accenture Strategy’s 2015 B2B Customer Experience Report, companies struggle to deliver successful customer experiences because their directors and managers have too little time to dedicate to customer experience (CX) initiatives (48 percent), processes for achieving the optimal CX aren’t formalized (46 percent), and C-level executives view other objectives as higher priorities (46 percent).
Of those that participated in the study, 86 percent of B2B executives recognized customer experience as a strategic priority. This revelation has inspired managers to consider more comprehensive budgets and pay better attention to creating optimal CX capabilities.
Managers making customer experience a priority are making loyalty important. Many examples of that type of leadership could be seen in 2015.
This year, some notably-large companies made the effort to greatly enhance customer experience. For example, the self-described “uncarrier” telecommunications giant T-Mobile made CX a priority with a unique problem-solving deal.
The company is now providing customers with their own cellphone tower. It is another example of T-Mobile’s consideration of customers. Paying clients expect all of their problems to be solved by the company, ensuring satisfaction and creating loyalty. It is possible experiencing bad cell service or lack of data could affect how people view the brand, deterring new consumers and alienating devoted ones.
The mini tower (named CellSpot), provides improved service to T-Mobile’s cellular network — not Wi-Fi. That means T-Mobile subscribers will now receive a robust, speedy connection in locations where they did not normally have any. Competitive carriers have similar devices, but cost hundreds of dollars. The CellSpot is available for a $25 deposit.
CEO John Legere told CNNMoney T-Mobile aims to provide progressive services, unlike competitors who will “do absolutely everything they can to bleed you dry.”
T-Mobile wasn’t alone in achieving the best solution for customers.
Numerous retailers took a road-less-traveled when providing a memorable experience. Businesses actually encouraged customers to do less shopping and more of what they love this past Black Friday in light of the pressure the “shopping holiday” brings.
Retailers are pursuing unique ways to appease the customers, sometimes unconventionally. The hype that often surrounds Black Friday has amassed criticism from media and patrons alike spurring some companies, like REI, to completely shutter its doors as a result.
Conversely, popular retailers have expanded deal opportunities for a longer period of time.
This year, Wal-Mart announced the majority of its Black Friday deals were available online beginning at 12:01 a.m. Thursday for the first time. Additionally, Target rolled out “10 Days of Deals” starting Sunday and a Black Friday presale, which began on that Wednesday.
Customers love sales and saving money. It’s not exactly a trade secret. However, retailers are recognizing the needs of their loyal shoppers exceeds a 24-hour sale and expanding the overall CX.
Brick-and-mortar shopping experiences and long-term online sales don’t always determine patrons’ feelings about a business. Often times it is how a complaint is handled, the ease of customer service and a solution will define a client’s feelings or loyalty.
As technology has changed and grown, so has customer service/experience.
According to Help Scout, a web-based help desk for customer experience, Twitter users view more than one million customer service tweets each week; about 80 percent of those tweets are negative. One negative message regarding a brand may not seem harmful at first, but with sharing on social media, that one bad experience can reach potential customers and alter their perception of the company.
In June of 2015, Facebook began testing a “saved replies” feature. The new addition helps companies manage and save customer service messages more effectively, and create one-on-one organic conversations. Twitter has also eliminated the 140-character limit in messaging, allowing businesses to better communicate with customers directly. Businesses now also do not have to follow the customer on Twitter to get in touch; removing the awkward exchange of asking the customer to let a company follow them in order to be better helped is now going to be eliminated.
In the age of technology and instant reviews, it’s important to provide the best service for customers. When a patron feels as though they’ve received the highest level of service, it is more than likely they will become brand ambassadors, spreading the word of the company to friends and peers that trust their judgement.
A businesses’ best advertisements are the ones that come from happy customers on their social channels including personal Facebook pages and tweets telling friends and family. Their vote of confidence and trustworthiness among their social circle only reinforces the quality experience provided by a business.
Make customer experience a priority in 2016 to retain new and loyal clients.