As technology evolves, it is continually transforming how marketing professionals reach and engage their customers. Before the dawn of the digital age, it was a common practice for salespeople to recognize their customers when they entered the store. Great service meant talking to customers about their personal tastes and being able to make purchase recommendations based around that. Then with advances in internet and mobile technology, many companies turned to mass campaign marketing to capture customers, and personalized service quickly became a thing of the past.
But as many marketers have noticed in recent years, there has been a customer-facing shift. Technology may have made it easy for companies to put product over experience, but it also opened up a new realm of channels through which customers could engage with brands and get educated about products before making a purchase decision. Customers know more, which means they also expect more. The era of customer centricity is back, and as the 2016 State of Marketing report from Salesforce indicates, 88% of marketing professionals now believe that adopting a customer experience strategy is critical to success for today’s businesses. The report went on to find that of the nearly 4,000 marketers who were surveyed from all over the world, 65% said that they have already started investing in customer experience initiatives.
Have a look at some of these other stats we’ve collected and see for yourself why 2016 should be the year your company re-examines its customer approach strategy:
89% of businesses will soon compete mainly on customer experience (Gartner for Marketing Leaders). Customers never stopped believing they were right, and now marketers are believing it too! With so many companies selling similar products, your competition is not only growing, it is also gaining more accessibility to your customers. Businesses must adapt or be outsold by competitors who are already making customer experience a critical differentiator.
By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator (Walker Information). Customers have always liked to feel like they are getting their money’s worth. In addition to a quality product at a reasonable price, today’s customers also expect exceptional service as part of the buying equation. Companies that deliver personalized and proactive support will be the ones growing and retaining customers faster than the ones offering the highest quality product or lowest price.
92% of organizations that view customer experience as a differentiator offer multiple channels for engagement (Deloitte Consulting). No longer is the customer’s journey restricted to a simple trip to the store and back home again. Today the journey can be as complicated as a visit to a store, then to a website over a mobile device, followed by a quick email check or look at social media, seeing some ads and eventually, a return to the website on a laptop at home to make a purchase. Marketers who value a strong customer approach strategy are not only offering multiple channels for customers to engage with their brand, but are also making sure that the experience is seamless across all those channels.
Customers who encounter positive social customer care experiences are nearly 3 times more likely to recommend a brand (Havard Business Review). More and more customers are reaching out with questions and comments through social media, and expect you to respond as if you were one of their followers. Although it is impossible to offer always-by-your-side support across all platforms, companies are now dedicating employees to social customer care. Having someone there to resolve issues and provide the answers your customers need has proven to be very profitable for nurturing and growing new business, especially amongst millennials.
86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience (Forbes). This statistic has been proven by the success of companies like Apple and Google, who have differentiated themselves not based on the products they sell, but on the experience they deliver to customers. When a company invests intellectually and emotionally in their customers’ expectations, their customers in turn invest financially in their products and services.
What statistics have you seen about customer experience? Tell us in the comments!