The secret is out: 2018 has been declared the “Year of the Customer” -- and there is a list of surprising statistics about the customer experience to support this claim. Though people pleasing always has been a fundamental truth of business, it’s no longer acceptable to shout that tired, trite saying, “the customer is always right,” and expect it to translate into the kind of satisfactory experience that buffets the bottom line.
In today’s marketplace, the consumer has authoritatively – and permanently – gained control of the customer experience. They mine troves of internet data to learn about our services, pricing, and customer service haggles; they interact with our company, wherever and whenever they want, using whatever device that they choose; they give us their data and money on their terms; and if any aspect of the customer experience is askew, they just move on to the next vendor on the list.
Indeed, the more accurate phrase for businesses today might, in fact, be, “the customer experience BETTER be right – or else.” This means that each and every customer engagement and interaction needs to represent our best foot forward.
15 Surprising Statistics about Customer Experience (plus bonus infographic)
Supporting this new normal is a list of shocking customer experience statistics that document the collateral damage being done to businesses that botch the customer experience paradigm (as well as highlight the benefits of getting it right):
- U.S. brands lose approximately $62 billion each year due to poor customer service, according to a NewVoiceMedia study.
- Of 1,000 consumers surveyed in another study, 65 percent said they had ended their relationship with a brand over a single customer service miscue.
- Customers came away feeling that customer service agents failed to answer their questions in half of such interactions.
- However, only four percent of unhappy consumers actually complain about their negative experiences - the rest simply take their business elsewhere, according to Kolsky.
- Customers who consider themselves “satisfied” with the customer experience are five times more likely to repurchase than those who are dissatisfied.
- 80 percent of Tweets about companies are negative in nature.
- Though 80 percent of companies think their customer service is “superior,” only eight percent of consumers feel that way about those same companies.
- “Poor communication” was cited as the root cause of customer complaints about a company in 80 percent of all such cases.
- It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for just one unresolved negative experience.
- 77 percent of satisfied consumers will share their positivity with friends, on review sites, or across social media channels.
- Six in 10 consumers are actually willing to pay more for a better customer experience, according to Harris Interactive.
- Self-service tools are among the most demanded enhancements of the customer experience, with 70 percent of customers expecting a company’s website to have a self-service feature.
- Gartner says that 2018 is the year that half of organizations will redirect resources to innovations that enhance the customer experience.
- It is predicted that in just two years, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
- In fact, 89 percent of businesses expect that customer experience soon will be the main way in which they will compete for wallet share.
Training at the Front Lines of Customer Experience
The first line of defense in any such effort to reverse a trend against customer negativity, and to embrace the consumer’s need to be the first priority, could be as simple as training. This is particularly true when you consider how razor thin the margin appears to be between satisfaction and disappointment.
A repeated theme of dissatisfied customers is “poor communication” – an issue that can be magnified when your products or services are particularly complex, or when adding headcount to your customer service team makes it difficult to provide the kind of detailed training needed to ensure each associate has the right level of subject matter expertise.
One of our clients, Orion Advisor Services, a producer of financial services software, wanted to continue to offer clients exceptional experiences, but were resource-constrained as the company’s growth took off. The company needed an efficient way to get its clients up to speed on its powerful software solutions, while freeing up their training team to invest its time identifying new ways to provide additional value to clients.
“We wanted to create content that could be accessed anytime, anywhere, and to put it in a format that was easily understandable,” said Bob Lamberty, training and engagement team manager at Orion.
Orion deployed an online training suite, or learning management system (LMS), provided by Mindflash – allowing the company to scale its training experience for both clients and team members and ensuring that all stakeholders understood the most complex features of Orion’s powerful software solutions.
How Customers Benefit from Training
Of course, these new heights of knowledge empowerment can have other benefits as well. For your customer support team, you’ll find they’ll be more satisfied – feeling more engaged in the company’s business and products, and fostering a greater sense of overall team spirit. If there’s any lingering doubt about the potential pitfalls of a negative attitude infecting your customer support center, check out this recent blog on attitudes that ruin customer experience.
Companies that use an LMS as a part of their training programs are able to dynamically update these programs, pushing new content to customer service teams as new products and features come online. Companies can also be uber-responsive to customer feedback -- using LMS-driven training to instruct front-line associates on how to deliver exceptional experiences, or correct miscues as they occur. Additionally, as in the Orion example, with an LMS your customers can learn about features and benefits of products and services at their own pace.
Not only can you deliver a better overall experience for your customers through training, but you also may find that the increased enlightenment may lead to greater utilization of the current product (like in the Orion example). And that could open doors to add-on sales, repeat business, and better quality referrals.
If 2018 is truly the “Year of the Customer,” then it’s never been more important for businesses to get with the (training) program to ensure they are offering a customer engagement experience that is second-to-none. After all, driving customer satisfaction, for any enterprise, just makes “cents.”