5 Things You Need To Know About The Customer Experience

From the cost of bad service, to top strategic priorities, to customer loyalty, to AI, to the future of agent engagement, this report evaluates key CX realities.

Brian Cantor

As part of its mission to ignite customer centricity and create customer experience rockstars, CCW Digital regularly conducts and publishes research reports.

Fueled by a combination of wide-spanning marketplace surveys, in-depth executive interviews, real-life case study insights and expert analysis, the reports give you the opportunity to understand the pressing challenges, learn how peers are addressing those issues, and ultimately develop an innovative game plan for your own organization.

Here are some takeaways from our recent research.  We’ve included links to download the associated reports (all are free).

1)      The cost of a bad customer experience is very real.  62% of customers will consider switching to a competitor after just one or two bad experiences.  52% would switch even if the competitor offered an inferior and/or higher-priced product.

On the other hand, the value of a great experience is significant.  63% of customers would pay more for a better experience, while 91% of customers share news of great experiences with friends and/or social media followers. [Source: Executive Report on the Customer Experience]

2)      For the majority of businesses, interactions are the focal point of customer experience strategy.

Thirty-three percent of businesses say improving the value of interactions is their top CX priority.  An additional 18% declare “improving the consistency and accuracy of interactions” to be their paramount focus.

Great interactions, of course, hinge on a taut backend operation – and many organizations are taking that notion to heart.  Seventeen percent say their top CX objective involves optimizing processes and workflow, while 15% are placing are placing prime emphasis on improving technology. [Source: CCW Fall Executive Report]

3)      There are two modes of creating customer loyalty and both are essential.

The “organic” approach involves cultivating loyal customers by consistently delivering a great, engaging experience.  If customers are confident they will receive a stellar experience, they will feel enthusiastic about engaging.

The “deliberate” approach involves offering specific incentives for loyalty; rewards programs fall under this classification.

Organic endeavors drive more permanent, sustainable loyalty, but they are not as “sexy” or “immediate” as deliberate initiatives.   Deliberate initiatives present more tangible value, but they are building loyalty to the offer rather than the brand (and what happens when a competitor offers a better rewards program).

The ideal scenario, therefore, is to use both in tandem.  Use deliberate initiatives to encourage repeated engagement, then use those repeated interactions as opportunities to earn loyalty by offering consistently great experiences – and by learning what customers really want. [Source: Special Report - Customer Loyalty]

4)      Customer management professionals are taking artificial intelligence very seriously.  74% declare it “important,” while 56% plan to introduce or continue using AI solutions in their contact centers.

These organizations, by and large, believe AI will complement – not replace – human agents.  38% believe the top use of AI is in the self-service realm; it will help handle transactional matters, while agents focus on more complex, nuanced ones.

Other key applications involve automating workflow and predicting customer behavior. [Source: CCW Fall Executive Report]

5)      When talking about how technology will allow agents to spend more time and energy meaningfully connecting with customers, it is important to consider the ramifications for agent development and engagement.

Since today’s agents spend so much time on transactional matters or non-call work, they are not necessarily prepared for highly detailed, highly unpredictable, highly personalized interactions with customers.  They are not necessarily equipped to “connect.”

They will need to possess (or develop) competences like versatility, critical thinking, meaningful affability, brand and product knowledge (and affinity), appreciation for the journey, empathy and trustworthiness.

It is not the agents alone who carry the burden of cultivating those skills.  Organizations must make these competencies the centerpiece of their talent development programs.  They must also provide tools, systems, processes and environments that empower agents to use these “deeper” abilities to properly engage with customers. [Source: Special Report – Future of CX Employees]