What Marketers Can Learn From the Customer Experience

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Customer service experiences are a universal frustration. Chances are most of us can rattle off a bad customer service experience without a moment’s hesitation. According to the results of a new consumer survey from Aspect, our customer service expectations have increased in the past three years and they’re likely to continue increasing.

Most brand’s today place far more budget and attention into getting customer attention versus giving consumers attention, even when it is becoming more and more apparent that the customer experience can make or break a brand. This is remarkable considering it costs 6-7 times more to acquire a new customer than keep a current one [i]. So with this in mind, here are some important issues marketers need to consider about the customer experience.

  1. People Love to Share Bad Customer Service

Thanks to the rise of social media and the always-on experience, consumers today are empowered to be brand evangelists or antagonists to their legions of friends, families and professional contacts. Our survey found that 55% of consumers stop doing business with at least one company during the past year because of bad customer experience [iii]. A bad experience can instantaneously ignite like wildfire via a social network and potentially spread to mainstream media  – creating a new negative hurdle  for marketers to overcome. Good customer service not only minimizes the existence of brand antagonists, it creates advocates that make marketers’ jobs a helluva lot easier.

  1. Exceptional Customer Service Can Make a Bigger Financial Impact on Your Business Than You Think

Consumers overwhelming show appreciation for great customer service with their wallets. In fact, consumers say they would pay more just to ensure a superior customer experience [ii]. The Aspect study found that 76% of consumers said that customer service is a ‘true test’ of how much a company values its customers [iii]. This runs counter to the perception five to six years ago where customer service was seen as an expense and not as an investment in growing the business. Customer service is critical touch point l for facilitating engagement with customers and, the result is increased loyalty and customer spend.

In many ways exceptional customer experiences can be exceptional marketing. The service touch-point provides another opportunity to reinforce the brand message. A great experience can become an organic and viral response that the customer will evangelize on behalf of the brand.

  1. Personalize the Customer Experience and Your Business Will Attract and Sustain Customers

Consumers want to engage with the companies they do business with, but on their own terms. No longer are customers reaching out directly to agents via phone – they are looking to contact companies via websites, live chat social media and text.  In fact, 4 in 10 of millennials (people born between 1980 and 2000)   prefer purely online customer service versus talking to a live agent [iii]. Marketers who recognize this can take advantage of the opportunity to build customer loyalty by giving customers personalized care, including the channels of communications they want. We’ve found that personalization is so important to consumers that they are willing to provide more data in exchange for enhanced personalization.

  1. Customer Interactions Provide Invaluable Insight and Fuel New Feature Development

Through personalization of the customer experience, marketers are provided critical data for developing new insights. Whenever customers contact customer service, companies are hearing what the brand perception is and what challenges they are facing. Marketers can use this knowledge to draft new insights for future marketing efforts and tailor existing offers to better meet customers’ needs. 7 in 10 people say that they feel more loyal to a company when that company shows them that they know them [iii]. People today, especially millennials,  value customer experience more than the functions and features in a product and as a result experience can engender brand loyalty.

  1. Understand, Learn and Drive Action From the Customer Journey

It is time for marketers to recognize the insight the customer journey can provide. If you follow your customers’ experiences across all touch points you’ll be amazed at the wealth of information you’ll acquire. Do they have a satisfactory experience on each channel and are able to move effortlessly between them? Understanding the journey can give insight into how their experience effects their loyalty to you and their future business with you. Pick up the phone and call, tweet or text customer your service. You’ll be surprised what you learn.

[i] White House Office of Consumer Affairs

[ii]Customer Experience Impact Report by Harris Interactive/RightNow, 2010

[iii] The Aspect Consumer Experience Index: Millennial Research on Customer Service Expectations

 

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Jim Freeze, SVP, CMO

Jim Freeze, Aspect’s Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, plays a crucial role in executing on Aspect's corporate vision and strategy with oversight for the company's messaging platform and brand elevation. In addition, he directs the development and delivery of product and solution marketing strategies to foster revolutionary customer-company relationships.
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