According to Forrester Research, 72% of executives now say that improving the customer experience (CX) is their number one priority. Yes, it’s become so important now that it beats cost reduction and growing revenues, although it could be argued that improving the CX usually has a positive effect on both these other targets.
But as customer service expert Shep Hyken points out in a feature published by Forbes magazine, poor customer service costs companies about $62 billion a year just in the USA alone – billion, not million. You can see the losses detailed in this infographic. The figures are calculated by looking at the actions taken when a customer receives poor service. In this research, 91% will do something after a bad customer experience and about half (49%) will switch to an alternative brand for their purchase.
Shep lists ten CX trends in his article to watch out for in 2017, but his first point is possibly the most interesting. He said that even if we are seeing statistics like the lost $62 billion mentioned in this research, the customer experience is generally getting better. I tend to agree. Based on my own experience with our clients I can see that there is more sophistication around CX strategy today. It’s getting, better, but customer expectations are also changing faster than ever.
In my view, there are a few important reasons why CX is generally improving though:
- Customers are demanding it; customers are more sophisticated than ever. They expect service 24/7 across a variety of channels and they expect a great experience however they interact with brands.
- Companies are seeing value; there is a measurable ROI from investing in an improved CX and many executives now see this as essential.
- Omnichannel; ensuring that customer interactions work equally well across all channels and information can be shared inside the organisation has dramatically improved how customers feel when they hop from one channel to another.
- CRM Investment; companies know more than ever about customers and customers are willing to give up personal data if they can see they there is something in it for them – companies are getting smarter about creating a more personal service.
- Mature Agent Strategy; agents in call centres are finally being seen as more than just people answering the phone and reading a script. They are developing useful skills in marketing and sales that are genuinely adding value to companies. Customer service is now at the centre of the relationship with the customer.
So for all these reasons I do agree with Shep’s point that CX is getting better, although it is hard to quantify exactly by how much, if there is even a benchmark that it can be measured against. I’m going to explore some research to see if I can find any documented evidence of improvement in CX generally, but in the meantime let me know what you think.