Entering The Age Of The Customer

by Salmat
17 March 2014

Hello? Are you listening!?

It has never been so easy for organisations to engage with their customers - and so difficult to do it well.

Entering the “Age of the Customer” (as Forrester refers to it), the power of the consumer has dramatically shifted. Consumers now have access to multiple touch points generating a greater influx, and while companies have more ways to engage with their customers, the process is becoming increasingly complex.

Many companies still approach customer experience as a static or single point in time (the point of purchase or the moment of a customer complaint). However, the customer experience spans all the interactions they have with a company across the customer life cycle, and via many more channels than ever before.

To keep up, organisations must quickly adapt their customer experience strategy, determine their approach to customer satisfaction across all stages of customer interaction, and ensure they are truly listening and acting upon the voice of the customer.

So, why does customer experience matter so much?

  • 55% of customers are willing to recommend a company due to outstanding service, more so than product or price
  • 85% of customers would pay up to 25% more to ensure a superior customer experience
  • 82% of customers have stopped doing business with an organisation due to a bad customer experience
  • 95% of customers have taken action as a result of a bad product or service (79% of these have then told others about their negative experience)
  • Only 4% of unhappy customers actually complain. Of the 96% that don’t complain 91% won’t be a returning customer
  • 80% of companies would like to use customer experience as a form of differentiation
  • By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator

The Customer Experience Battleground

With the path to purchase significantly changing, companies are under increasing pressure to change their sales and service approach. This provides a unique and differentiated customer experience to acquire, grow and retain consumers, which has created a whole new battleground amongst competitors.

The modern consumer has unprecedented access to information - for example, consumers check out on average 7 different sources of product information before making a purchase decision. Consumers socialise, communicate, transact and demand access to products and services in real-time via their preferred channel (be it online or offline, and any one of the many more channels now available).

Companies must now create a positive and consistent customer experience, but this process is becoming increasingly complicated. There are many stakeholders interacting with the customer at any given time in the life cycle, and many business representatives are therefore contributing to the overall customer experience (positively or negatively).

Voice of Customer Program

Facing so many challenges in providing a company-wide, consistently positive experience for customers, it’s more crucial than ever for organisations to listen to consumers and react accordingly in a timely fashion to their feedback.

Voice of Customer (VoC) programs provide the solution. VoC programs enable companies to ensure customer experience is a priority, obtain valuable customer data and continually monitor feedback. With the vast amount of data acquired via these programs, organisations can more readily identify cost-saving initiatives and company-wide efficiencies, and have a genuine a customer-centric view when planning long term strategy.

Best Practice

An effective VoC program will:

  • Capture real-time customer sentiment, end-to-end, across the entire consumer journey
  • Generate immediate and actionable insights from customer feedback
  • Provide instant service and issue resolution capability
  • Support and execute action plans to provide a differentiated customer experience
  • Gain competitive advantage

Organisations acknowledging the importance of customer experience, are developing VoC programs to better understand the drivers of customer acquisition, advocacy, retention and churn. In fact, according to a Forrester study, 68% of businesses had Voice of Customer programs in place in 2012 up from 55% in 2011, and there is a significant rise in customer experience roles being created within businesses including the introduction of the CXO (Chief Experience Officer).

However, a successful customer experience and (VoC) solution takes time to design, and implement, reach the right strategy, organise audience groups, and analyse and understand the results.

Listen, Salmat’s Voice of Customer program, provides the tools and capabilities to support the development of a successful customer feedback strategy, and implement a structured, tested and efficient cost-effective solution, with a reduced level of involvement for businesses and third parties. It also enables the acquisition of additional and deeper insights faster and cheaper than more traditional market research and consulting.

Listen enables you to:

  • Gain access to real time and informed insights
  • Understand drivers of customer retention, churn and revenue
  • Acquire additional insights faster and more cost effectively than traditional methods do
  • Offer a differentiated customer experience for competitive advantage
  • Tailor VoC program to your exact business and customer experience requirements (only use what you need)

The importance of implementing an efficient VoC program can be fully recognised by considering the negative impact of not implementing one! Back in 2003, Fred Reichheld introduced the concept of the Net Promoter Score being “the one number you need to grow” and specifically referenced how a low NPS score can in fact result in the demise of an organisation. Fast forward to today, and many businesses believe this is still the case. Remember ,a satisfied customer is your strongest advocate.

So when a customer next contacts you, will they be met by silence or the response “Hello, how may we help?”

Find out more about Salmat's Voice of Customer service here or call us on 1300 725 628.

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