What does CX mean to your business? As you probably know, superior customer experience is an important component of successful business strategies. But is your company pulling out all the stops to be customer focused? Or is your CX strategy one of many internal initiatives that compete for resources?
Research by Forrester and Adobe found that experience driven companies grew revenue 1.4 times faster than other businesses in the same year. How did they do that? For one thing, these same companies also increased customer lifetime value (CLV) 1.6 times more than businesses that aren't driven by CX.
There are plenty of statistics that prove the importance of CX and point the way towards specific areas organizations can focus on to improve customer experiences. This article will highlight some of the more significant statistics, discuss their implications for contact centers, and hopefully inspire business leaders to stop treating CX strategies as just another line item on the budget.
What does CX mean?
Let's start by developing a common definition of CX. CX is the opinion a customer has about a brand based on a cumulative set of impressions. These impressions happen in multiple ways and across multiple channels. Customers can receive brand impressions from touchpoints ranging from Instagram posts to TV commercials to customer service interactions.
Every impression has the potential to enhance CX or completely destroy it. A cheesy Instagram post or an unprepared customer service agent can ruin CX for a customer even though their perception of the brand was previously very positive.
The digital age has created the ability for businesses to create a wealth of impressions on customers and prospects, which can be both good news and bad news for brands. The good news is that businesses have more opportunities to engage people with satisfying experiences. However, all those impressions create complexity and drive a need for customer experience management (CEM).
Businesses who successfully and continuously measure, manage, and enhance CX will have a competitive advantage that leads to better business results.
Example of how a simple customer service interaction can degrade CX
Contact centers play a vital role in CX. Customers who need support can factor service interactions into their overall perception of a business. In fact, a good customer service experience can greatly improve CX and even save relationships, while one bad interaction can send even loyal customers out the door.
As an example, say you book a weekend at a high-end hotel. The online reservation system is well-designed, the check-in process is smooth, the service from the hotel staff is superior, and your room is luxurious. So far, you're experiencing exceptional CX.
But when you get home, you notice an unusual charge on your bill. It isn't a large amount, you're just curious what it is. Because there isn't much urgency, you send an email to customer service. A couple of days later, you receive a canned response that doesn't answer your question. Frustrated, you decide not to pursue the issue, but the incident diminishes your opinion of the business.
Here are a couple of takeaways from this example. First of all, it's jarring to receive inconsistent experiences across touchpoints. A high-end business should provide high quality support. An equally important lesson is that one minor interaction can have a disproportionately negative impact on CX.
Let's gain more insights by looking at some enlightening CX statistics.
17 CX statistics to inform your customer experience strategy
If we look closely, research reveals what customers want, what turns them off, and what benefits are in store for experience driven companies.
What do customers say about CX?
#1 - 80% of consumers make purchasing decisions based on an emotional connection with the brand.
Even in this digital age, or maybe because of it, people want to form emotional connections with businesses. This isn't so surprising - it's difficult for many people to make decisions based on just cold, hard facts. Customers will buy more when they feel positive emotions and believe a company knows and cares about them.
Contact centers are in a unique position to make these emotional connections on behalf of the brand. When customers reach out for support, they may be feeling emotions like frustration, confusion, and even anger. If the contact center can relieve them of these negative emotions by providing fast, competent resolutions and empathetic experiences, it can strengthen relationships.
Additionally, personalization is also an effective way to create emotional bonds. Customer data such as purchase and interaction history should be available in all channels and used to tailor experiences.
#2 - 82% of US consumers want more human interaction in the future.
This research was conducted prior to the pandemic lockdowns and I can only imagine the percent of people who feel this way has increased over time.
This statistic illustrates the importance of agent interaction. Customer service agents are frequently the only people customers interact with at companies, especially e-commerce businesses. Agents truly are brand ambassadors.
Businesses need to ensure these "human interactions" are as satisfying as possible by effectively developing, managing, and equipping their agents to be successful. And even when customers use self-service, knowing they have a clear path to agent assistance can be reassuring.
#3 - Almost 80% of US consumers say speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendly service are the most important elements of a positive customer experience
Customers still value the basics, but delivering on these expectations can be challenging.
Contact centers have at least two takeaways from this statistic. First of all, agents need to be both competent and personable. One characteristic without the other won't provide optimal experiences. Knowledge without friendliness will feel robotic, while a friendly agent who lacks expertise won't get the job done for customers.
Additionally, "speed" and "convenience" require effective self-service solutions. Most people begin their resolution journeys by trying to quickly and conveniently take matters into their own hands. Businesses should help their customers be more successful at self-service by implementing tools such as virtual agents and conversational IVR systems.
#4 - 83% of customers expect to engage with someone immediately when reaching out to a business — a five-point increase from the prior year
Self-service isn't the only tool businesses should use to add speed to the resolution process. They also need to optimize contact center agent capacity in order to minimize queue times.
This effort, of course, begins with accurate forecasts and schedules. AI-infused workforce management (WFM) software can help contact centers easily produce more accurate forecasts and schedules. Plus, smart WFM tools enable organizations to quickly make intraday adjustments to ensure customers aren't unnecessarily impacted by disruptions.
Contact centers can also increase agent capacity by automating repetitive agent tasks, which allows agents to handle more interactions. And solutions that reduce the demand for agent assistance, such as self-service and proactive outbound notifications, will also help keep wait times low.
#5 - 68% of customers expect brands to demonstrate empathy but only 37% of customers say brands are successful at meeting this expectation
Soft skills such as empathy are essential for great CX but difficult to monitor. Quality assurance processes typically evaluate appropriate use of soft skills, but due to small sample sizes, contact centers may not receive a complete picture of agent competence.
Businesses should make soft skills training a priority during agent onboarding and ongoing development plans. Additionally, contact centers should consider implementing real-time interaction guidance software. Real-time interaction guidance tools can determine customer sentiment and then use that information to coach agents on soft skills that can improve the interaction. It's an effective way to strengthen soft skills and give customers more of the empathy they expect.
#6 - 54% of customers say it generally feels like sales, service, and marketing don’t share information
Omnichannel, anyone? Omnichannel experiences aren't just a contact center concern. Customers need to experience seamless interactions throughout their journeys, regardless of what business team owns specific touchpoints and handoffs. Customer data needs to be shared across the enterprise so everyone knows where individual customers are in their journeys. Otherwise, you'll get statistics like this.
#7 - 80% of consumers believe flawless engagement is as important as product quality
This is a good statistic to end this section with. CX really is important to customers, and they expect perfection.
What does CX mean for customer behavior?
Good and bad CX both drive customer behavior, as the following statistics illustrate.
#8 - Most consumers agree they are willing to buy more products (87%) and are willing to recommend a company to others (81%) if they have an exceptional customer service experience
If you ever need proof that the contact center directly impacts the bottom line, here it is.
When people feel good about a customer service interaction, they feel good about the entire business and that warm and fuzzy feeling influences purchasing decisions. Contact centers play a crucial role in building long-term, profitable relationships.
Additionally, the willingness to recommend (aka Net Promoter Score) is a primary measure of CX quality and a predictor of business success. The contact center's ability to impact Net Promoter Scores is further proof of their organizational value. It also emphasizes the need to consistently deliver exceptional experiences.
If I was a contact center manager, I would place these statistics in a prominent place so agents and other staff could draw a direct line between their individual performance and overall business results.
#9 - 63% of consumers are more likely to forgive and 65% feel more connected to a brand with whom they have a longer-term relationship compared to a company with whom they've done business for less than a year
This statistic illustrates the power of forging long-term relationships with customers. I would bet these customers are also less likely to shop around. As an example, I have a friend who's used the same auto insurer since she learned how to drive, and she is so satisfied that she would never comparison shop.
Contact centers can help build these types of long-lasting relationships by consistently providing high quality experiences in every channel. Consistency is key. Although long-time customers are more forgiving, everyone has their limits.
#10 - 63% of consumers would share more information with a company that offers a great experience
If customers are more willing to share their information, that implies that great CX inspires trust, an important factor in relationship building. Customer data is gold these days because it enables businesses to know their customers better. This deeper understanding allows companies to enhance customer journeys and deliver personalized experiences.
#11 - 46% of all consumers will abandon a brand if the employees are not knowledgeable
Now for the bad news, and this is particularly relevant for contact centers. It's no secret that agents need to know what they're talking about, but it can be difficult to deliver on this customer demand when agent turnover is high and training budgets are low.
Contact centers can rely on technology to help ensure customers receive accurate answers and resolutions. Agents should have easy access to a smart, well-maintained knowledge base that puts relevant information at their fingertips. Additionally, AI-powered agent assistants can automatically retrieve knowledge articles for agents and recommend next best steps. These solutions make agents more successful in delivering the knowledgeable interactions customers expect.
#12 - 32% of consumers would abandon a brand they love after just one bad experience
CX can make or break a business - that's why managing and improving customer experience should be a top priority.
What does CX mean for business plans?
Here's what businesses say about CX and their plans for improving it.
#13 - 46% of companies report that CX is their top priority for the next five years, topping product and pricing
It's always helpful to see what your competitors are investing in, and nearly half are putting their money on CX.
#14 - 68% of business leaders expect to incorporate artificial intelligence into their customer experience within the next two years
Artificial intelligence can transform customer self-service solutions by making them more effective and a more natural experience. For example, natural language processing (NLP) allows customers to interact with virtual agents and IVRs by stating what they need in human language rather than navigating through menus or being required to guess the right keywords.
Behind the scenes, artificial intelligence can also have a powerful impact on customer experience. Contact center AI can make routing smarter, improve the accuracy of forecasts and schedules, measure customer sentiment, identify contact drivers, and improve problem management.
Contact centers that don't use artificial intelligence are at a disadvantage.
#15 - 55% of business leaders strongly agree that a great employee experience is essential for being able to provide great CX
"Happy agents, happy customers" is a contact center saying that has a lot of truth behind it. Businesses should focus on the agent experience as an enabler for superior CX. Providing a great agent experience requires:
- Regular, effective professional development
- Modern technical tools
- Competent leadership
- Engaging management practices
- A supportive culture
- Work-life balance through measures such as flexible schedules and work from home opportunities
- Rewards and recognition
What does CX mean for business results?
I won't belabor the point. These statistics speak for themselves!
#16 - According to Adobe research, "Companies that prioritized and effectively managed customer experience were three times as likely than their peers to have significantly exceeded their top business goals" in the prior year
#17 - BCG research revealed that "companies with the highest customer satisfaction scores have generated twice as much shareholder value over the last ten years relative to the average score."
The research is clear about the importance of CX as a business strategy. It also tells a good story about what customers want from businesses. Are you ready to prioritize CX as one of your top business initiatives?
Let NICE help you achieve your CX goals
NICE CXone is the market leading contact center software in use by thousands of customers of all sizes around the world to help them consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences.
Elevating customer experience and solving contact center challenges is our specialty—and our passion. With our innovative cloud platform, outcome-focused people, and powerful partner ecosystem, we’re ready to tackle any challenge, no matter the size.
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