Companies are starting to see the light. Many have come to realize that it's possible to differentiate themselves from their competitors by delivering a superior experience to customers; not just by the products they sell. Unfortunately there are still some brands that just don't fully understand the importance of this. We hear this time and time again at client meetings:
"We think our strategy is working well, or we've seen growth year-to-year and we're happy with that."
Truth is, if your digital strategy hasn’t been reviewed in the past six months, there is a good chance you’re missing out on some large opportunities with your current customers and perhaps even missing out on a whole set of customers you didn't know existed - yes, really.
Forrester's Recent Findings:
With the recently released report titled "The Business Impact Of Customer Experience" by Forrester, the results are undeniable. The report states what many of us know already - there's a strong correlation between customer experience and customer loyalty.
To conduct the study Forrester examined the statistical relationship between how customers rate companies in their Customer Experience Index (CEI).
Three key components were considered:
- Willingness to consider the company for another purchase
- Likelihood to switch business to a competitor
- Likelihood to recommend to a friend or colleague
What is most likely to get your attention is the revenue increases that come along with enhanced customer loyalty.
In the section titled, "Better Customer Experience Can Be Worth Millions in Annual Revenue," Forrester describes the correlation between a high-scoring CEi to these forms of revenue increases:
- Increases in incremental purchases from existing customers in the same year
- Revenue saved by customer loyalty (lower churn)
- Increased sales driven by customer referrals
Yes, soon many will catch on. A customer experience strategy, design and execution will more frequently become a company's core competency as well as a core practice of culture. After all, the more interactions there are with customers, the deeper the relationships, the richer the data captured and the better the business gains. And, who doesn't want that?
So what is it you'll need to do, once you're ready to move forward making Customer Experience a top priority? First, congratulate yourselves, as getting there is half the battle. Next you'll need to follow these guidelines:
- Hire help! – Find a partner who can guide you through the ever-changing landscape of technology and help you interpret data to develop user experiences that really deliver.
- Start With Business And Brand Objectives - If you have defined goals and objectives, review them to ensure they are still valid. If you don't have them, this is a good time to establish some.
- Know Your Target Users - Is your target audience the same as it was a year ago? Are their needs different due to market, socioeconomic or other changes? Are you delivering what they're looking for today?
- Optimize The Strategy – With objectives and target users defined, you can develop a user experience strategy, but you'll also need to test that strategy and optimize accordingly.
- Continue to Optimize and Think Long Term – Put a plan in place that can grow with time and the needs of your customers. Remember, customer experience expectations evolve rapidly in response to variables that you may have no control over.
In today's markets, customer experience has become a key business differentiator-but meeting the needs of the customers is not always easy. We know that customers expect firms to invest financially, intellectually and emotionally in understanding and consistently meeting their evolving expectations.
By focusing on the best practices outlined here, companies can deliver customer experiences that drive revenue, enhance bottom-line profitability and long-term brand value.