Equipped with boundless choices and little incentive to stay loyal, today’s customers are finding it easier than ever to switch brands until they find an experience that matches their expectations. The numbers don’t lie: 57% of customers have stopped buying from a brand because a competitor provided a better experience, which is costing businesses more than $75 billion a year. Those looking to stand out in a highly-competitive market must provide nothing less than superior customer experiences. With that being said, we’ve discovered 5 customer experience mistakes that your business can no longer afford to make.
CX Mistake #1: A Lack of Data-Driven Decisions
Data collection plays a foundational role when it comes to developing the superior experiences that today’s customers expect. Since the advent of the digital age, widespread public engagement across social media, mobile, and e-commerce platforms has given businesses access to more information on their customers than ever before. Such a rich source of qualitative and quantitative insights should be catalyzing the success of one brand after another, yet the reality is that customer data remains largely unused.
A recent study by Harvard Business Review reveals that only 23% of business respondents act on most or all of the customer data they collect. The study further identifies organizational silos, outdated technology, and a lack of expertise as prominent barriers to creating a reliable source of customer intelligence. Clearly, businesses are missing a critical opportunity to provide the predictive and personalized experiences necessary to delight their customers. This deficit hasn’t gone overlooked: A majority of customers agree that the brands who should know them, don’t.
The Fix: Prioritizing the right data types for your business. For businesses caught up in the frenzy of “big data” collection, there’s a good chance that most of that data has nothing to do with an enhanced customer experience. Interestingly enough, the kind of company you are determines the data you’ll need to leverage (think transactional, behavioral, and so on). “Swimming in Data,” an engaging article by BloomReach, speaks more to the types of customer data that your marketing team should access routinely.
CX Mistake #2: An Underdeveloped “Human Experience”
As new technologies emerge to enhance the customer experience while preserving business resources, “automation” has become quite the buzzword in today’s competitive landscape. Mobile applications, self-service options, chatbots, automated phone lines, and features of the like have redefined the way we engage with businesses… But could there be such a thing as too much technology? Today’s customers and CX experts sure think so.
In fact, 64% of U.S. consumers feel companies have lost touch with the human element of customer experience, and 71% would rather interact with a human than an automated process. Such preferences have only grown stronger during the COVID-19 era, whereby social distancing has left people craving human connections more than ever before. With this in mind, today’s businesses are faced with a unique responsibility: to balance their highly-efficient, automated systems with empathetic representatives who can understand customers’ situations on an emotional level.
The Fix: Making well-informed, authentic connections. Set out to understand your customers’ key emotional motivators. Do they want to feel a sense of belonging? To be thrilled by the shopping experience? To channel their independence? Whatever they may be, these motivators should play a central role in redefining how your business communicates with its customers. Such efforts will ensure more emotionally-connected—and, in turn, more loyal— customers.
CX Mistake #3: Discontinuous Customer Touch Points
Just as we seamlessly communicate with each other across different channels—perhaps starting on the phone, meeting in person, and following up with an email—customers expect a comparably omnichannel experience with the brands they love. In fact, 73% of U.S. consumers claim to use multiple channels during their shopping journeys, utilizing such features as in-app coupons and online orders for in-store pickup.
Here’s the case with many of today’s businesses: They’ve implemented mobile marketing tools, engaging social media platforms, and well-designed websites to lure in their customers, but these channels don’t work together seamlessly. Once users attempt to switch channels out of convenience, the disjointed marketing messages and user profiles simply waste their time and patience. 73% of customers say that one of their biggest frustrations is having to repeat themselves at various touch points, which indicates that multiple channels add little to no value to the customer experience if they aren’t purposefully integrated.
The Fix: Meticulously mapping the customer journey. To take the friction out of cross-channel interactions, start by exploring the typical touch points that your customers utilize. This includes understanding the kinds of content they’ll seek out, as well as when and where they’ll engage with it. Creating such a roadmap of potential interactions will help your business engage its various departments in optimizing the flow of each channel into the next.
CX Mistake #4: CX Disconnect Within the Business
If you think it’s possible to deliver an exceptional customer experience without having a culture that promotes it within your organization, think again. Businesses that hope to grow in relevance and gain a competitive edge must champion a sense of customer obsession that permeates each level, from top-level managers to customer service representatives. Given the state of CX today, such an objective is much easier said than done.
According to a recent study by Harvard Business Review, 90% of respondents agree that having a clearly communicated customer experience strategy is essential for a winning customer experience. Less than half of them, however, would consider their company performance to be effective in this regard. For businesses that consider customer commitment to be the output of a small team instead of an internal driving force of the organization, customer service has become rushed, inconsistent, or neglected altogether.
The Fix: Recalibrating your company culture. The values and behaviors of your organization must align with the desired customer experience and brand promise you want to deliver. This process is critical to experience management, since it ensures that the desired CX translates to the day-to-day priorities and behaviors of employees. Take the “10 Core Values” of Zappos, for instance, which create a framework for the company’s exceptional customer service practices.
CX Mistake #5: Poor Queue Management
The checkout process has long been proven to make or break the brick-and-mortar experience. According to a study from Forrester, 73% of today’s customers consider line length to be a very important factor of the shopping experience, and long lines are the third biggest reason they would choose to shop elsewhere. Recent public health developments have further raised the stakes: For the sake of social distancing, customers favor businesses that enable them to get in and out of a store as quickly and safely as possible.
Despite the convenience and health factors at play, many businesses have failed to deliver an adequate queuing experience. Respondents of the aforementioned study ranked line length as dead last for customer satisfaction, while lines are only growing longer and more dangerous amidst today’s indoor capacity limitations. Take, for instance, the unfortunate case of Harper’s Restaurant and Brewpub: Shortly after the well-loved Michigan eatery reopened at 50% capacity, it was linked to almost 200 COVID-19 cases due to the crowding of diners waiting to be seated.
The Fix: Managing capacity with reservations. Capacity management is no longer a nice-to-have— it’s a must for helping your customers feel safe. Consider putting a reservations platform in place to distribute customer engagement throughout the day. In doing so, you’ll be able to plan for demand and better manage capacity, staffing, inventory and more. Check out how RSVD works to help you accomplish just that.
Whether your business is up–and–coming or well–established, it’s never too late to overcome the customer experience mistakes that have riddled many. In fact, CX improvement is an ongoing process that evolves with the needs of your customers and employees. The most common customer experience mistakes of today may not be the same as those of next year. This is why it’s imperative for businesses to continually examine their customer journeys and make the adjustments necessary to thrive in the long term.
Feeling inspired? Read our related blog posts to learn more about crafting an exceptional customer experience:
→ ..Winning the “Experience Wars”: Lessons from Today’s CX Leaders
→ ..10 Customer Experience Innovators in the Hospitality Industry