Creating a good customer experience is something that most companies have realized is critical to attracting and above all retaining their customers. But what does a good customer experience really mean, and what are the customers expecting in their interaction with their supplier?
For the third year in a row, we at Salesforce conducted a global study “State of the Connected Customer” to find out exactly this. We have asked 8,000 consumers and buyers to get a comprehensive result of what good customer experience means to the one who is most important in the whole buying process – namely the customer.
The expectations of your customers have never been higher.
In the report we can see that customer engagement, ie how brands interact and build relationships with the customer over time, is a huge challenge. As many as 54 percent of consumers feel that companies need to change how they interact with their customers to keep them.
The reason is simple. If you, as a customer, feel that you have received a good response and a smooth purchasing procedure in an online electronics store, you expect the same rigor in contact with other companies and organizations – whether it happens to be a bank or a shoe store.
It is a problem that companies only compare with their competitors in their industry. Today, you have to compare yourself with the best customer experiences regardless of the industry, and also think globally. More than 70 percent of those surveyed believe that an extraordinary experience at a company raises expectations when interacting with others. In other words, they are the best of the best to compare your business with.
But can’t you do it by having a good product or service? No, not according to the consumers in the study. 84 percent believe that the customer experience is as important as the product or service they buy. In addition, two-thirds believe that they are willing to pay more to have a good experience.
Three things your customers expect
So what is it that customers expect? In the report, three things stand out:
That the company knows what they want before they start the interaction. Everything from personal offers, proactive messages or even preventing potential problems before they arise. It’s simply about delivering personal experiences – something that has been talked about for a long time, but that only 47 percent of consumers in the study think they get.
The customer chooses when and where to interact. The best companies interact with their customers on the channel or device the customer prefers, not the easiest to manage. Whether by mail, chat, phone or in a mobile app, the customer chooses when and where.
The customer does not care about how you organized the company. In short, if the customer talks to someone in the sales department one day, they expect customer service to know about it – and use that information to help them. This means that companies must have a uniform and transparent view of all interactions with their customers and be able to easily share that information to the entire organization.
Trust and integrity are increasingly important in the customer relationship
The third point also means that you, as a company, have to handle your customers’ personal information in a secure and responsible manner. A clear majority (73 percent) of consumers in the study believe that trust and integrity are more important today than just a few years ago.
This may be partly due to the fact that new laws such as the GDPR set the spotlight on how companies handle consumer personal data. At the same time, close to half (48 percent) state that they have stopped trading at a company precisely because of inadequate personal data management. But there is hope – 58 percent say they can share their personal information if they are handled in a transparent way and that gives them something back.
In other words, it is not difficult to get the consumer’s data, which is needed in order to be able to deliver personalized and extraordinary customer experiences, provided you are clear on how they are handled.
Start measuring the customer’s lifetime value
Measuring customer engagement is always a challenge. Is the new customer who made five smaller purchases more engaged than the customer who has been with them for several years, but who instead makes a few larger purchases each year?
For marketers, it’s about following customers in multiple platforms and through multiple contact areas to understand them at any given time. All in order to deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time – a motto that has been pursued since the beginning of marketing.
In a study, 43% of marketers have begun to follow the value of customers over time, which places entirely new demands on how companies interact. “Measuring customer value over time is a good start, as it is likely to make companies invest more in their existing customers,”. It is important to focus both on acquiring new customers and at the same time retaining and developing the ones you already have. Companies that manage to find this balance are often the most successful.
There are great opportunities to be at the forefront.
In summary, customers today place higher demands on companies to be proactive and transparent in the interaction. However, few companies live up to these expectations. So there are great opportunities to be at the forefront by creating truly unique customer experiences and putting the customer where they deserve to be – in focus!