A happy customer is a loyal customer…..with an entourage of family and friends!

In today’s technology driven society, meeting customer needs is just not enough to survive. Organisations are learning that they must exceed expectations if they want to remain relevant and keep customers loyal. Recent victims such as HMV, Comet and Jessops are classic examples of companies that failed to offer their customers a consistently positive experience.

Organisations are discovering that loyalty is highly correlated with customer experience but what does it mean to offer leading customer experience and how do you design and implement a genuine offering?

An obvious master of cutting-edge CX is Apple. Did customers ever think they really needed an iPad before Apple created it? Apple understood the concept of want before need and skyrocketed ahead, creating a new level of CX and in the process a new market for premium tablets. While any organisation can improve pockets of its customer experience, it takes more than a few isolated changes to create significant improvements that deliver long-lasting results and Apple have conquered that. They have managed to truly understand the end-to-end customer journey and the upshot is that their customers receive a globally consistent, first class service. For instance, customers can browse for products online, purchase their product in New York and receive aftercare or even return the product in Hong Kong.

The technology disruptors not only created the radical ‘i’ brand but also revolutionised how customers think and what they want. They have successfully gained the top spot for a must have product and as a result, in 2012, Apple was ranked number 1 in the Forbes Customer Loyalty engagement Index.

To maximise the CX, organisations should consider the following:

  • Social media – New channels increase the power and coverage of customers’ comments, positive or negative. The power of social media when it comes to influencing decisions far outweighs word of mouth. In 2012 Burberry paved the way for fashion as it capitalised on social media.  The luxury retailer allowed its customers to interact with the latest trends and products via Facebook and Twitter and as a result experienced an increase popularity and revenue.  According to Bain Consulting, customers who engage with companies over social media spend 20% to 40% more money with those companies than other customers. 
  • Changing customer touch points – While the ‘over the counter’ experience is still prevalent, it is no longer the only method of interaction. The growth of smartphones, tablets and contactless payments, has set a new level of interaction across a range of platforms and organisations now have to juggle with the complexity of embracing this with more ‘traditional’ touch points such as in-store and call centres if they are to remain relevant.
  • Technology – With multichannel and digital paving the way for the future, offering exceptional customer experience has led to convergence between technology and the consumer across all sectors.  Many have learnt that they cannot keep early adopters loyal by just meeting their needs through a single-channel approach.  Today people are increasingly looking to organise their lives from the palm of their hands via their smartphone or tablet and thus organisations need to ensure they can satisfy this modern customer.

Get this right and there are two clear benefits…

  1. Price PremiumPrice Premium – CX is a real opportunity for differentiation between a firm and its competitors. According to Customer Experience Index (CEI), 84% of customers are happy to pay more for good experience.
  2. Market ShareMarket share – Getting CX right is imperative to increasing an organisation’s customer base. The CX report by Rightnow assesses that 89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.

Exceeding customer expectations is at the forefront of CEO’s agendas. Businesses are looking to incorporate the latest digital trends to offer a unique and exciting experience via products and channels that not only keep their customers loyal but also encourage them to introduce more people to the brand.  Apple has successfully created customers who are brand evangelists.

Being known as a ‘multichannel leader’ or ‘innovator’ is highly valuable for an organisation and as such CX is a hot topic. Organisations are therefore investing time and effort to truly understand their customer’s journey and evaluate their current offering to ensure that they are competitive within the market place.

CX for thought…

  • How does your organisation define CX?
  • Are your business and technology strategies aligned to exceed your customer’s expectations?

The next CX blogs will explore how e-commerce, smartphones and the digital wave have transformed the customer journey.  The series will examine the CX transformation within the traditionally minded Retail and Banking sectors.