What’s a great, differentiated customer experience really worth to a company?
A managerial dilemma
It’s a question that seems to vex lots of business executives, many of whom publicly tout their commitment to the customer, but then are reluctant to invest in customer experience improvements.
As a result, companies continue to subject their customers to complicated sales processes, cluttered websites, dizzying 800-line menus, long wait times, incompetent service, unintelligible correspondence and products that are just plain difficult to use.
How to get the focus of executives
To help business leaders understand the overarching influence of a great customer experience (as well as a poor one), we sought to elevate the dialogue.
That meant getting executives to focus, at least for a moment, not on the cost/benefit of specific customer experience initiatives, but rather, on the macroimpact of an effective customer experience strategy.
We accomplished this by studying the cumulative total stock returns for two model portfolios – comprised of the Top 10 (“Leaders”) and Bottom 10 (“Laggards”) publicly traded companies in Forrester Research’s annual Customer Experience Index rankings.
L E A R N F R O M TH E L E A D E R S
How do these Customer Experience Leading firms create such positive, memorable impressions on the people they serve? It doesn’t happen by accident.
They all embrace some basic tenets when shaping their brand experience – principles that can very likely be applied to your own organization:
1 They aim for more than customer satisfaction.
Satisfied customers defect all the time. And customers who are merely satisfied are far less likely to drive business growth through referrals, repeat purchases and reduced price sensitivity.
Maximizing the return on customer experience investments requires shaping interactions that cultivate loyalty, not just satisfaction.
2 They nail the basics, and then deliver pleasant surprises.
To achieve customer experience excellence, these companies execute on the basics exceptionally well, minimizing common customer frustrations and annoyances. They then follow that with a focus on “nice to have” elements and other pleasant
surprises that further distinguish the experience.
3 They understand that great experiences are intentional and emotional.
The Leading companies leave nothing to chance. They understand the universe of touchpoints that comprise their customer experience and they manage each of them very intentionally – choreographing the interaction so it not only addresses
customers’ rational expectations, but also stirs their emotions in a positive way.
4 They shape customer impressions through cognitive science.
The Leading companies manage both the reality and the perception of their customer experience.
They understand how the human mind interprets experiences and forms memories, and they use that knowledge of cognitive science to create more positive and loyaltyenhancing customer impressions.
5 They recognize the link between the customer & employee experience.
Happy, engaged employees help create happy, loyal customers (who, in turn, create more happy, engaged employees!). The value of this virtuous cycle cannot beoverstated, and it’s why the most successful companies address both the customer
and the employee sides of this equation.