A common misconception in retail is that customers are only motivated by their sensitivity to the price and perceived value of products. As a company, it’s easy to assume that all you need to do to beat out your competitors is to offer your products at the best possible value, even if we know that this isn’t the case.
I know that, even though it’s a little pricier than its competitors, I still go to the same coffee shop every morning on my way to work. It’s not hard for anyone to think of somewhere they shop even when that venue isn’t the “best value.” We choose these favorite spots, not for the prices they offer, but for the experience we have as a customer.
Customer experience can mean several things. Specifically, it can be the service you receive, how stressful the checkout process is, or what type of environment the products are presented in. Laura McLellen at Gartner pulled together 10 different surveys that showed the industry pivoting so that it could focus on customer experience. The entire list is worth reading, but here are three key takeaways.
Customers Get Mad If You Make It Hard For Them To Purchase
According to Accenture‘s 2013 Global Consumer Pulse Survey, 85% of customers became frustrated when a company’s website made it hard to purchase from. More than 58% of respondents said that inconsistencies between channels made them less likely to buy. Furthermore, 84% said that they found it difficult to deal with companies who would promise one thing and then deliver another.
Your eCommerce site can have the best prices anywhere, but if your customer get’s frustrated in the checkout process, you’ll lose out on countless sales. Make sure your “sales cart” experience is as seamless as possible, even when that means considering alternative payment methods (such as Apple Pay).
A Customer First Strategy
In 2013, IBM‘s Customer-Activated Enterprise study found that 39% of companies that are performing better than their peers have a fully developed an integrated digital-physical customer strategy. And when Gartner asked CMO’s what improvements their companies were investing in, they said that nearly 18% of their total marketing expense was spent on customer service in the last fiscal year and that their company’s innovation teams were focused on customer experience for 2015.
The Rise Of The Chief Customer Officer
Gartner found that in companies with revenue’s in excess of $500 million a year, more than 65% had a chief customer service officer, or an equivalent. This individual reports equally to the chief market officer and CEO on strategies to improve the experience of customers at all their locations. In fact, these large companies are so certain of the importance of customer experience that 89% of them plan to to make it their competitive priority by 2016.
When Oracle asked what was the most critical factor tho their company’s success 97% of chief executives answered experience. While customers are more careful with their money than ever, these large companies understand that competing solely on the value of your product means that your customers could abandon you as soon as someone figures out a way to get the price lower. By focusing on your company’s experience instead of just revenue, you’ll be increasing the value of your image in the minds of consumers, which will make your revenue far less sensitive to fluctuations in price.