by Granville Triumph
The first thing any business needs is customers, and keeping those customers happy should always be the No. 1 priority. That’s a complex task in today’s hyper-connected, always-on business environment. There are so many places where things can go wrong, from web site issues to call hold times to resolution of complaints. And customers are increasingly intolerant of companies that fail to get it right.
In a recent global survey by Oracle, a full 89 percent of customers said that they have switched brands due to a bad customer experience. However, the study revealed that business executives underestimate the impact of customer experience on customer behavior. Only 49 percent of executives surveyed believed that customers would switch brands due to a poor customer experience.
Ninety-seven percent of executives did agree that delivering a great customer experience is critical to business advantage and results. Respondents estimated that they could expect to lose an average of 20 percent of annual revenue if they failed to offer a positive, consistent and brand-relevant customer experience.
Ninety-three percent of executives say that improving the customer experience is one of their organization’s top three priorities in the next two years, and 91 percent wish to be considered a customer experience leader in their industry. However, many organizations are stuck in an execution chasm: 37 percent are just getting started with a formal customer experience initiative, and only 20 percent consider the state of their customer experience initiative to be advanced.
Social media amplifies the customer voice, and businesses are scrambling to answer. Eighty-one percent of executives believe that delivering a great customer experience today requires leveraging social media effectively. But 35 percent don’t have social media for sales channels and 35 percent don’t have social media for customer service.
Executives cite limitations from inflexible technology, siloed organizations and systems, and insufficient investment as the biggest obstacles to delivering the best possible customer experience. On average, businesses estimate that they will increase spending on customer experience technology by 18 percent in the next two years. Improving the cross-channel experience and customer analytics are top priorities.
Technology can indeed aid in optimizing the customer experience. The right technologies can make it easier for customers to contact your organization and give your employees the tools and data they need to serve customers efficiently and effectively. Continuous process improvement is also critical.
It has long been my philosophy that the customer should be the focal point of all business activities. With the right mindset and supporting technologies, organizations can deliver the kind of experience that solidifies customer relationships. That should be every organizations top priority — this year and every year.