Welcome to the Age of the Customer!
Today’s consumers have far greater access to information and options than at any other time in human history. This democratization of information has served to empower consumers and shift the power dynamic from the brand to the customer. Brand loyalty may still exist, but companies need to earn that loyalty at each and every touchpoint. According to Forrester:
“Today’s customers reward or punish companies based on a single experience — a single moment in time. This behavior was once a millennial trademark, but it’s now in play for older generations. It has become normal.”
At the same time leading companies have shaped consumer expectations. Companies are supposed to be easy and intuitive to work with. Consumers are no longer comparing their providers to similar companies, they are comparing you to the best customer experiences they have ever had. Customer experience is becoming the thing that matters most. As McKinsey & Company put it:
“Leading companies understand that they are in the customer-experience business, and they understand that how an organization delivers for customers is beginning to be as important as what it delivers.”
This isn’t all just theoretical either. Consumers are actively switching providers if they are not happy with the level of service that they are receiving. According to Microsoft’s Global Customer Service Survey, 59% of consumers have stopped doing business with a brand due to poor service. DALBAR’s own research backs this up, and takes it a step further by applying the same question to financial services where there are barriers to switching providers, such as sales/surrender charges and other penalties. According to DALBAR’s 2015 Investor preferences study, 51.8% of respondents had switched their financial services provider based on service quality. It is even worse when we look specifically at the 62.2% of high net worth individuals who have switched providers due to service quality.
So how is it that some companies are able to consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences while others are always struggling? This is a critical question and one which we will endeavor to answer in a series of blog posts looking at The Core Principles for Delivering an Exceptional Customer Experience. These are:
- Great Customer Experiences Don’t Just Happen
- Engaged Employees Provide Better Experiences
- A Service Culture is Paramount
- Listen to your Customers
*Stay tuned over the next 4 weeks as we expand on each of these topics.
- By Brendan Yeager