Are You Meeting Your Customer Expectations?

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Consumers want and demand better experiences, or they will go elsewhere.

What consumers buy, where they buy, and how they use their purchases have changed – and continue to do so. Businesses struggle to keep up with the know-how, infrastructure, and people to respond.

The result? The gap between what customers expect and what companies deliver is bigger than ever. Eight out of ten people believe customer experience needs to be improved, according to a study conducted by Qualtrics to examine how satisfied customers are with the companies they buy from. 

The study found that companies’ biggest areas of improvement were prices and fees, customer service, product capabilities, and ease of use. Online resources and the buying process were also key areas where consumers wanted businesses to improve.

Bad experiences cost businesses about $4.7 trillion in consumer spending every year globally, as customers refuse to spend money with companies that don’t meet their expectations. Around 9.5% of businesses’ revenue is at risk due to bad experiences. As consumers weed out businesses that tolerate bad experiences, the risk for those that miss the mark is huge. And the opportunity for those that get it right is even greater.

According to the report, consumers are 3.5 times more likely to purchase from a business after a positive customer experience and 5.1 times more likely to recommend an organization after a positive customer experience.

“Great CX only happens if you have the ecosystem to design, improve, and deliver. Organizations need strong experience management competencies, customer-centric culture, and technology to execute at scale,” said Moira Dorsey, Principal XM Catalyst, Qualtrics XM Institute.

As people’s expectations have changed, companies haven’t kept up. According to the report, products and services haven’t been updated to what consumers need now. As people flocked to digital, companies have failed to respond, leading to fragmented and frustrating customer journeys and support as they switch from one channel to the next.

Around 43% of the surveyed said that companies need to improve their customer service support. “Consumers want to seamlessly complete their tasks anytime, anywhere, regardless of channel – it’s clear that most businesses have yet to deliver on an optimized omnichannel experience,” said Juliana Smith Holterhaus, Ph.D. XM Product Scientist, Qualtrics.

The way forward

Businesses need to take a fresh look at everything to understand what’s working and what’s not and identify the actions to close the gap between business and your customers.

Radically overhaul your customer service. A one-size-fits-all approach to service won’t work anymore. As customers engage with businesses across multiple channels, they need to understand what each customer needs, when they need it, and deliver a tailored service on the channels they prefer to use.

  • Overhauling your customer service involves not just blindly deflecting to self-service options but recognizing which options work best for which customers and when.
  • Questions to ask include; at which points do customers need the most support? Are you offering a good combination of channel options? Are you aware of the needs of different customer segments?

Think customer, not channel. How customers interact with you has changed from the buying process to how people use your products and access support. As you understand what they need, break down silos between channels and look at the end-to-end journey to identify what’s working and what’s not.

Make agile your default setting. With current global supply chain issues and labor shortages, finding smart ways for humans and technology to converge will help ease the burden on your people. Equip teams with the tools and processes to get insights to the right people automatically to take action on it quickly.