Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Businesses: Ignore the Customer Experience at Your Own Peril

August 27, 2014

The customer experience is a hugely vital part of any business operation. Whether the customer is a regular person at the retail level or a business at the consulting level, the kind of experience the customer has while dealing with a business will often frame that customer's reaction to the idea of doing business with that company in the future. So how do businesses get that perfect customer experience that keeps customers coming back for more?

First, of course, it's important to understand what goes into a customer experience. This is where many businesses actually lose the battle right from the word go; determining what creates a top-notch customer experience in the first place is regarded by some as an expensive process, and others believe the idea is too nebulous to pin down in the first place and provide actionable data about. But some key points have become quite apparent when it comes to customer service, surprisingly simple points that most anyone can act on. For instance, 70 percent of buying experiences actually come down to how the customer believes he or she is being treated, according to reports. What's more, most customers don't jump ship from one business to another over issues of price; it's commonly the customer service that does it. Indeed, 60 percent of customers will actually pay more for a product that comes with a better customer experience overall, even in a bad economy.

Those points alone should contain all the reason anyone could ever ask for in terms of improving the customer experience. Why would anyone want to not do so, with that kind of reward afoot? Indeed, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh notes that a customer service experience can be regarded as an investment in marketing, and not without reason.

It's clear from the points noted earlier that a top-notch customer experience can pay impressive dividends. But it's not just the individual customer that needs to be considered here in terms of figuring out the risk / reward layout. As we've seen several times now with Comcast, the impact of a poor customer experience can echo throughout millions of users. While not every bad customer experience goes viral, who would want to take the chance that this one might be the one that triggers the worst case scenario? That's an untold quantity of business lost, and business that may not be immediately—if ever—recovered. Meanwhile, a good customer experience is often praised directly, and though this may not have the viral impact a bad experience does, it does come with valuable, unsolicited word-of-mouth praise, and that kind of word is worth quite a bit in a solicited equivalent.

The key take-away here, meanwhile, is that a customer experience often determines whether a customer will be a regular customer or a former customer. Former customers don't mean money for a business, and can often do more harm than good. Regular customers keep coming back, keep buying, and keep generating revenue for the business. Regular customers are the thing to have, and the best way to make those is to focus on the customer service experience above all.

Edited by Maurice Nagle