Creating exceptional experiences for your customers and prospects can set yourself from the competition. This can be anything from providing consistent experiences across channels, providing excellent customer service, or recognizing a customer both offline and online.
Customers no longer base their loyalty on price or product. Instead, they stay loyal with companies due to the experience they receive. In fact, 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience (source).
Brands recognize the power of the customer experience but providing consistent experiences can be challenging. According to a recent survey by Adobe, respondents named the following as the biggest challenges:
- 13.4% – Developing the necessary capabilities inside the organization to design, deliver and monitor the customer experience
- 12.1% – Determine the contribution of each touchpoint to the overall customer experience and identifying critical touchpoints
- 10.8% – Mapping all elements of the customer experience
Brands were also asked to rate themselves on customer experience compared to their competitors. Overall, brands feel they are not doing as well as the competition. Survey respondents gave themselves an above-average rating in “assuring that customer experiences are compatible with their brand”, resulting in a mean score of 0.31 (-1= feel below competitors, 0= on par with competitors and +1= feel above competitors). CMOs were least confident in their performance in measuring customer perceptions, emotions and behaviors throughout the customer journey (-0.22).
In addition to customer experience, the CMO Survey study also examined other areas such as social media. Spend on social media as a percentage of the overall marketing budget continues to rise.
With spend at a current rate of approximately 12% of overall marketing budget, brands expect their spend to increase over the next five years to a total of 22.5%.
Social Media and the Customer Experience
With social media becoming an increasingly important channel on which younger generations expect to engage, brands must pay attention and incorporate these channels into the marketing mix. Teens use these frequently, with 70% using these channels more than once a day.
Take a look at some of these additional stats on how consumers use social media:
- 80% of consumers use social to engage with brands (Forrester)
- Customers reach brands across an average of seven social media channels (Pew)
- Customers that receive a response from brands on Twitter are willing to spend up to 20% more and are 30% more likely to recommend the brand (Twitter)
- 54% of customers prefer social messaging channels for care over phone or email (AdWeek)
- It costs 6x more to solve a customer issue through a call center than on social (Forbes)
Mobile Customer Experiences
Mobile spend is also continuing to significantly rise. At a current rate of 12.8% of the overall marketing budget, this is expected to continue to increase to 21.8% of the total marketing budget in five years.
According to Deloitte, 56% of every in-store purchase is influenced by a digital device and Google’s research shows that 82% of consumers turn to mobile to help make a product decision. However, mobile customer experiences are not meeting customer expectations.
A key factor in customer experience includes easy access to products and services leveraging mobile apps. One research study found that 85% of consumers prefer shopping with mobile apps over mobile sites and that 90% of the time on mobile devices is spent within apps. Companies must create a best-in-class mobile app experience and continue to optimize to ensure customers pain points are resolved.
According to a report by Adobe and Econsultancy, 39% of marketers believe that optimizing the customer experience is the biggest opportunity for businesses in 2019. When broken down, customer experience is seen as being slightly more important by B2B marketers, with 20% citing customer experience as the biggest opportunity, compared to 19% of B2C organizations.
Meeting Consumer’s Expectations
A good customer experience strategy does not happen overnight but there are steps brands can take to make sure they are on track.
Step 1 – Personalize the Experience
Consumers want to feel like individuals, but many brands are not delivering.
- Are you collecting data about your customers to get to know their preferences and predict future behaviors?
- Are you supplementing these insights and filling in missing gaps with third party data sources?
- Are you able to quickly integrate this data to create a unified customer view?
- Are you able to quickly deploy messaging based on a customer’s actions?
Personalization is about knowing who your customers are and then delivering personalized offers, experiences and messaging to them across multiple channels.
Step 2 – Invest in Technology
Technology goes hand in hand with delivering personalized experiences. Technology makes it possible to collect data, integrate and deploy automated campaigns.
- Is your data siloed or do you have technology in place to integrate systems?
- Do you have marketing automation in place to deploy journeys as quickly as your customers travel across channels and engage with your brand?
- Is your technology able to ingest data quickly and analyze it for the appropriate next best action?
Step 3 – Measure ROI and Optimize
How do you know if your investments are paying off? Measuring customer experience can be one of the biggest challenges for brands.
- Do you have methods in place to measure customer satisfaction? If not, consider implementing a Net Promotor Score tool, which is an index ranging from -100 to 100 that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products or services to others.
- Is your organization customer-centric and willing to work together to continually optimize processes?
In order to stay ahead of the competition, brands must focus on optimizing every interaction with customers, from initial research, mobile interactions, customer service and product purchase.
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