For decades, the quality of products and services reigned king as the primary driver of customer loyalty and business growth. In today’s digitally driven experience economy, however, there is more competition, yet less differentiation than ever. Very few offerings are truly unique. Modern consumers look beyond just products, instead differentiating and making buying decisions based on customer experiences.
With this rise of the customer experience economy, brands are increasingly finding that while products can be knocked off, experiences cannot. Establishing long-term relationships based on a cohesive collection of individualized interactions are now the building blocks to significant revenue streams. Meaningful, engaging customer experiences can make a sizeable difference in both topline and bottomline growth—especially for brands that fail to deliver on the new benchmark for customer experience. In fact, in the NICE InContact CX Transformation Benchmark Study, over 80% of customers state they’d be willing to switch to a competitor after one bad experience.
Here are a few things you need to know about how customer experience is driving new levels of business growth:
Attract New Customers and Entrench Your Brand
Product innovation alone is not enough to appeal to a new generation of customers. Today’s customers want personalized, one-on-one interactions that demonstrate a unique understanding of them as individuals. Interests, contextual purchasing habits, even geographical location—customers reward organizations who understand these factors with their business and their loyalty. The goal is to foster customer relationships to the point where your brand becomes the default choice over competitors, regardless of product differentiation.
The technology behind your customer experience strategy is critical to establishing and growing customer value over time. A complete, unified cloud customer experience platform not only provides contextual information needed to build personalized experiences, but it can help agents take engagements a step further to contribute to revenue growth. Analytics capabilities can proactively flag new opportunities to expand the customer relationship—by providing cross-selling and upselling insights—in a personalized way that customers don’t find intrusive. For example, if a customer repeatedly purchases the same family of products, optimized customer experience solutions can push agents toward suggesting product accessories or upgrades.
All that said, today’s digital environment means companies face a significant challenge in attracting new customers in an experience economy. Trust in advertising and other first-party validation methods has never been lower. Across both B2B and B2C markets, customers now rely on online reviews, peer feedback and other third-party validation. In an age where social media amplifies poor customer experiences, the stakes have never been higher to ensure seamless, delightful interactions. Customers can either become your most powerful advocate, or a significant barrier to growth.
Go Beyond Core Expectations
For exceptional customer experiences to drive meaningful levels of revenue growth, they need to deliver both speedy resolution and personalized interactions. In fact, research shows that consumers rate resolving issues in the quickest way possible as the top indicator of channel success when engaging with customer service, and, 21% of consumers rate personalization their top priority.
Businesses need to delicately balance delivery on these expectations—by offering proactive, speedy resolutions (whether it be through self-service or agent-assisted channels) on a case-by-case basis, but by also understanding how each of these touchpoints as a collective set informs the larger relationship. Each individual touchpoint can be quick service provided via a mobile app, text, proactive SMS or even in-store when a retailer knows a customer’s contact center interaction history. When businesses can string these touchpoints together with the right facts and context history—their ability to offer proactive, personalized resolutions and, thus, immersive and engaging experiences, can increase dramatically.
Ultimately, speed doesn’t necessarily mean automation. It means that businesses need to deliver outcomes for customers the first time. This is best supported by matching the right customers with the right agents and enabling those agents with the right tools, context, training and analytics to take personalized action quickly instead of bogging the caller down with follow-ups and transfers, or deflecting inquiries to self-service. An open and flexible cloud platform gives contact center agents tremendous power to establish great relationships and the long-term customer loyalty needed for significant revenue growth.
Prepare for a Flexible, Digital, Customer Experience Economy
The speed of doing business has never been faster. The rate of digital innovation continues to rise, and with it, customer expectations. Businesses who build strong customer experience strategies today are prepared to meet the changing demands of core audiences over the next 10 years. From a technology support standpoint, while exceptional customer experiences are needed to retain and attract new customers, building a culture of flexibility allows brands to respond to changing customer demands in real time. And, as analytics take on a new role as the key informant of customer interactions and preferences, an open cloud customer experience platform enables greater levels of agility, and breaks down data silos so teams can be more efficient in their ability to deliver experiences across lines of business.
This is particularly important as contact center metrics evolve alongside the technology. An open cloud platform enables contact centers to benchmark metrics such as NPS® scores, so they have a clear understanding of what success looks like, regardless of how expectations may change. Customer experience is not static, and businesses looking to drive growth cannot be either.
Making the Business Case
While it can be tricky at times to measure the impact of the customer experience, contact center metrics like Net Promoter Score® have been directly linked to revenue growth. Research by Forrester shows that, for example, a one-point improvement in a mass market auto manufacturer’s CX Index score could result in $874 million in increased revenue. And, a fashion retailer who switched from an on-premises cloud contact center technology to an open cloud customer experience platform was able to remove 20% of calls from live agent queues, improving their ability to quickly resolve customer queries. In addition, when a storage company routed calls locally in an effort to match customers with the right person—rather than deflecting to self-service—average speed of answer improved by 80 seconds while NPS scores surged 9 points to 88. Headcount was reduced and significant savings followed.
As customer experience eclipses product quality as a brand differentiator, investing in CX isn’t an investment in support functionality, but an investment in your business’ long-term ability to drive topline and bottomline revenue growth.