How to Optimize the Customer Experience – Strategies and Trends
The customer experience continues to be top of mind for marketers. In recent research by Econsultancy and Adobe, B2B and B2C marketers alike agree that optimizing the customer experience is one of the most exciting opportunities for 2019.
While a handful of companies feel their CX strategies are very advanced, almost half of companies surveyed feel they have some tactics in place but no real customer experience strategy or capabilities in place to support one.
Why Customer Experience Matters
So why does the customer experience matter? The top three reasons according to research by Genesys are to improve customer retention (42%), improve customer satisfaction (33%) and to increase cross-selling and up-selling opportunities (32%)
Many brands understand the importance of these three broad areas as related to the customer experience, but let’s dive a bit deeper and some statistics you may not be aware of.
- A good customer experience means your customers spend more (Temkin Group):
- 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience
- 73% of buyers point to customer experience as an important factor in purchasing decisions
- 65% of buyers find a positive experience with a brand to be more influential than great advertising
- Companies that are experience-led have 1.6x higher brand awareness, 1.5x higher employee satisfaction, and 1.9x higher average order value. Experience-led businesses also have 1.7x higher customer retention, 1.9x return on spend, and 1.6x higher customer satisfaction rates. (Forrester)
- Organizations classifying themselves as “very advanced” at customer experience are almost three times more likely than their peers to have exceeded their top 2018 business goals by a significant margin. (Adobe Digital Trends Report)
- Customer experience leaders are four-and-a-half times more likely than other companies to have a highly integrated, cloud-based technology stack (32% vs. 7%) to fuel their customer experience management strategies. And companies with a unified tech stack are 131% more likely to have significantly outperformed their top 2018 business goals (30% vs. 13%). (Adobe Digital Trends Report)
- To deliver on their customer experience management goals, 55% of marketers are prioritizing more effective audience segmentation and targeting. (Adobe Digital Trends Report)
- Consumers with an emotional connection to a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value, stay with a brand for an average of 5.1 years vs. 3.4 years, and will recommend brands at a much higher rate (71% vs. 45%). (Motista)
- Customers who have had an unpleasant experience on a brand website are 88% less likely to return. (Clicktale)
- Sixty-one percent of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing, and 40% end up visiting a competitor’s site instead. (McKinsey & Co.)
- Companies with the strong omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, compared with 33% for companies with weak omnichannel strategies. (Aberdeen Group)
- 67% of respondents in a Microsoft survey believe that customer service channels are getting better, and that negative experiences occur less often. (Microsoft, 2017)
- 81% of Americans reported that customer service experiences are now meeting or exceeding their expectations, up from 67% reported in 2014. (American Express, 2017)
- 40% of consumers believe that businesses are now focusing more resources towards customer service, an increase from 29% reported in 2014. (American Express, 2017)
- 68% of customers surveyed believe that a pleasant interaction with a customer service representative is necessary for a positive experience. (American Express, 2017)
- 62% of consumers claim that a representative’s resourcefulness was also necessary for a positive customer service experience. (American Express, 2017)
The Customer Experience Challenge
Developing a strong customer experience brings rewards but can be challenging to implement. According to research by HBR Analytics Services, 41% of respondents stated systems integration as the biggest obstacle and 37% stated multichannel complexity.
For a CX strategy to be successful, data collection systems and channels through which consumers interact with a brand must be integrated and in sync. Providing a consistent customer experience is rooted in data – brands must know their customers across channels to provide consistent experiences. However, with the massive amount of data being created in today’s digital ecosystem, brands are finding it difficult to collect and integrate data quickly enough in order to act.
The focus on data-driven initiatives was also a theme of Adobe’s research. When asked what three marketing-related areas were a priority for 2019, the top answers were:
- Better use of data for more effective audience segmentation and targeting (55%)
- Improving customer intelligence and insights for a holistic customer view (42%)
- Integration of marketing tools for greater efficiencies and better workflow (42%)
Likewise, similar themes were expressed when asked about the top marketing challenges keeping marketers up at night. The top three answers included:
- Difficulty getting a holistic view of customers across all channels (44%)
- Difficulty tracking marketing effectiveness and media spend (41%)
- Ensuring consistent experience throughout the customer lifecycle (40%)
Brands must continue to stay focused on the customer experience and be diligent about implementing systems and technology to create a solid CX foundation. At its core, the customer experience is dependent on knowing who your customers are across the customer journey. Delivering a personalized interaction and a positive brand experience can truly be game changing in today’s competitive marketplace.
Interested in learning more about additional marketing strategies and tactics to provide today’s consumers with exceptional experiences? Download the Customer Experience Marketing eBook.
Read more: Customer Experience Isn’t Something You Do…
By defining the customer experience as a strategic end-to-end process, it can be studied, measured, monitored, refined, re-engineered, optimized, and improved. The process will become much more disciplined and receive the attention it deserves in the organization.