Outstanding customer experience (CX) might well be one of the key drivers of purchasing decisions and long-term brand loyalty but more than half of all consumers believe CX has stagnated over the past year – with many insisting it has gone to pot – yet the vast majority claim brands are snubbing their advice on how to make improvements.
According to a global study of 5,300 consumers across five countries (the UK, US, Australia, Canada and India) found that 92% agreed that CX drives buying decisions and loyalty; and more than eight out of ten indicated they are willing to spend more for a better CX experience.
Despite this, 52% of those surveyed said that CX did not improve or has deteriorated over the past 12 months, with retailers, media companies, and healthcare providers among the worst offenders.
However, the Alida 2021 Global Trends Report: Customer Experience reveals that the vast majority (95%) of consumers are willing to help brands improve in these and other areas, yet three-quarters (75%) believe brands are simply not listening to their feedback, and one in ten believe businesses will never use customer feedback to inform business decisions.
Alida chief strategy officer Nicole Kealey said: “The past year has seen a fundamental shift in how consumers interact with brands, forcing companies to change the way they engage with and stay close to their customers.
“Being reactive is no longer a viable business strategy. Our study shows that business leaders are missing out on a tremendous opportunity to harness the insight and opinions directly from their customer base to create a better customer experience, drive sales and increase customer loyalty.”
Ignoring customers comes with consequences — eight out of ten state that they are highly motivated to do business elsewhere after a bad customer experience.
The majority of respondents stated that they are also likely to leave a bad review, something that can have a negative long-term impact on a business given that negative social reviews influence the purchase decision of six in ten respondents.
Kealey added: “As all industries look to best navigate a post-pandemic world, companies must understand that one of their most important assets to success is a happy customer.
“A customer who has enjoyed your products, services and experiences will come back again and recommend you to their friends and family. But competition will become fierce and optimising every step of the brand experience will be critical.
“To do so, brands must integrate CX into their overarching business strategy and employ the tools they need to truly understand their customers and take action.”
Last month, a separate study by enterprise software specialist IFS revealed that brand owners are spending hundreds of thousands of pounds evaluating their CX strategies, but, even when they discover issues, most ignore them, potentially missing out on returning customers – and higher profits.
Once the results were analysed more than four-fifths (82%) of companies were not able to recall a single positive example of a frictionless customer experience but of those who spotted “inflection points”, almost a third (29%) did nothing about it.
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