Even in the midst of a global pandemic, there is one thing that’s for sure: people still want to be treated well. This concept is at the core of customer experience—the simple idea of people wanting to feel seen, known, and appreciated by the companies they’re buying from. Even as many companies seek to temporarily halt production of certain items or close their doors to dine-in patrons, they’re finding themselves in a weird place: wanting to stay top-of-mind for customers amidst potential closures, and not wanting to stir anxiety or fear while they do it. In fact, the market is about to get a whole lot more competitive thanks to COVID-19. customer experience may be the thing that keeps you in business.
No matter what industry you’re in, the issue of customer experience was likely rising to the surface, even before the coronavirus pandemic began. Research shows CX will be the key brand differentiator by the end of 2020—even more than price or product quality. It can be a difficult pill to swallow, especially for those companies that have invested heavily in branding themselves as the low-cost or premium-choice provider. So, why should everyone be focusing more on CX? The following are five statistics that show customer experience is more than just a trend; it’s a full-blown tide that will shape how businesses must need to operate moving forward.
CX Statistic 1: 86% of Buyers Will Pay More for Great Customer Experience
For all of you bargain-basement suppliers out there, let that stat sink in. In fact, research from PwC shows that 32 percent of customers will walk away from a brand they love after a single bad experience. If you’re one of the companies providing basic needs like toilet paper or water during the coronavirus crisis, you may get a pass because those things are in great demand. But we get to the other side of this, the mere issue of availability won’t be nearly as important. Customers—especially those who have experienced loss of income—won’t be willing to deal with less than stellar CX when spending their money. Many—myself included—will be choosing to buy from brands that chose to pay their employees while their businesses were closed or provided free services to those who needed them. Based on CX, how will your company fare in the post-coronavirus environment?
CX Statistic 2: Most Companies are Already Competing Primarily on Customer Experience
I actually have some mixed feelings about the finding that more than two-thirds of companies now compete primarily on the basis of customer experience. Why? Because I am, in addition to a father and technologist, a customer of many products and services. I have used the chatbots. I have called customer service lines. I have tried to make returns, only to get lost in an endless sea of web pages with no contact information or return policies. I know for a fact that even if companies think they are competing on customer experience, most are losing. The good news: there is still room for companies to wiggle into the forefront of CX. Customers are waiting for companies to rise to the occasion. If they’re anything like me, they’ve been endlessly disappointed thus far.
CX Statistic 3: Companies Investing in Omnichannel Experience is Skyrocketing
In their 2020 report, PWC found that the number of companies investing in the omni-channel experience has jumped from 20% to more than 80% since 2020. Again: the fact that folks are investing in it doesn’t mean they are doing it well. However, it does show that companies are recognizing that customers are purchasing products and services both online and via mobile. They’re experiencing your company via DoorDash and Instacart, and it’s going to be incredibly difficult for them to differentiate a bad experience with a delivery company from your company’s service overall. How is your company working to ensure that no matter how one works with your company, they always have the same overall CX?
CX Statistic 4: More than Half of Users Won’t Deal with a Bad Website
This goes along with the stat above in terms of omnichannel particularly. Research shows 57% of customers won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile. In the past, many companies have created a whittled-down version of the desktop site for mobile users, but with an increasing number of customers seeking products and services via mobile, that’s no longer possible. Google has already moved to mobile-first indexing. Failing to invest in your mobile site won’t just make you look bad; it will cost you customers and overall site visits, as well.
I know it’s a lot to take in, especially as we’re in the midst of a global health crisis. Many companies are seeking primarily to stay afloat, let alone blow the minds of their customers when it comes to CX. The point is, however, blowing customers minds with CX may be the thing that keeps your company alive, throughout the crisis and far beyond. It’s up to all of us to figure out unique ways to do it.
Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.
The original version of this article was first published on Forbes.
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