Customer Experience (CX) and ROI in a Post-Pandemic Economy
Customer satisfaction means even more today in a digital economy. But did you actually measure its impact on your ROI? Or do you just assume your organization delivers great CX?
— Adam E. Sene, CEO
Delivery gap and wrong assumptions
Customer satisfaction is way too important a business matter to merely assume that “your organization provides excellent service”.
The issue is first a matter of defining “good customer experience” correctly. How do key functions in your organization measure the degree to which their clients are satisfied?
In 2019, Bain & Company published a research study in which they found that “80% of the 362 businesses surveyed believe that they delivered ‘superior experience’ to their customers”… while only 8% of their customers thought actually were”.
Clearly, there’s a huge disconnect. Bain called this the “delivery gap” and cited 2 reasons for its existence:
- “Most growth initiatives damage the most important source of sustainable growth: a loyal, profitable customer franchise… [A business] compounds the problem when it tries to expand its customer base, as pursuing new customers distracts management from serving the all-important core.“
- “Good relationships are hard to build. It’s extremely difficult to understand what customers really want, keep the promises you make to them and maintain the right dialogue to ensure that you adjust your propositions according to customers’ changing or increasing needs.“
Bain cites the case of Intuit, the well-known financial software company, which committed major blunders in their expansion strategy in 2003 and saw their online market share plummet.
We would compare it to the case of Harley-Davidson, the iconic motorcycle manufacturer. As the gravy train of the early 2000s waned, Harley started to see its sales decline progressively from 2008. The CEOs tried to expand the product range to hit new markets, both demographic and geographic, completely ignoring their loyal fan base. As a result, the brand was vilified in the biker forums by their core audience for a variety of reasons, including expensive dealer fees, vastly overpriced bikes, and plain bad customer service at the dealerships. In 2020, Harley Davidson was only $1.3 million short of reporting a net annual loss… on sales of $4 billion.
Overdelivering to outperform
According to an article penned by Blake Morgan in Forbes, companies that provide a great customer experience outperform those that don’t. Among the host of percentages mentioned by Blake Morgan, these 3 appeared partcularly relevant to our own team:
- 84% of companies that work to improve CX report an increase in their revenue.
- 73% of companies with above-average CX perform better financially than their competitors.
- 96% of customers say customer service is important in their choice of loyalty to a brand.
If you haven’t yet made an in-person check of how good (or bad) your customer experience really is, may we suggest that it’s time you play “Undercover Boss”?
The pandemic and post-pandemic paradigm
Come 2020, Covid-19, and the worldwide lockdowns. Businesses are forced to rethink extensively their organizational model, from HR to sales to marketing to shipping. Whether small or big, most businesses entered completely unchartered territories where physical proximity and in-person sales/delivery meant nothing anymore.
Consumers found themselves home-bound, forced to rely on any information they could find on the web to make educated choices for almost everything they would buy. This is a new web paradigm: as the volume of ecommerce transactions is exploding, the volume and quality of content available to help consumers in their choices have both dramatically increased, and the number of reviews has followed a similar trend.
Now more than ever before, consumer reviews have become a nexus of information where retail clients and brands meet, with intersecting agendas.
The quantity of research available on the topic of online reviews and their impact on a business is mind-boggling. Enter the search query “statistics” AND “customer reviews” AND “2021” in Google, and you can start reading over 8 million web pages on the topic. Suffice it to say:
- Tons of good reviews will help your business sell more, sell more often, sell to more customers, and sell at higher prices
- Too many bad reviews will sink your sales, revenues and profits.
- You’d better get your Google rating in the 4.0 to 4.7 star range (an Uberall study quotes 3.7-4.9 but this is a wide range and it ultimately depends on the local competition facing your business in its industry)
New reputation management tools have sprung into existence over the last couple years, with 2 major functions: (a) Get more reviews written as soon as the product or service was delivered; (b) Alert immediately the management of a negative review. Though these tools can’t “gate” reviews (i.e. delay the publication of a bad review until the seller does something about it, or avoid presenting the reviewer the possibility to publish her/his review on Google), they use navigation schemes and psycholinguistic triggers to allow customers to vent before their dirty review hits the web.
Quality of experience is the new benchmark
In times of hardship, who needs another headache, really? If a business is known online to treat customers poorly, when its competitors are walking the extra mile to support their products and services online, doesn’t it mechanically follow that a greater number of consumers (or businesses in B2B industries) will find themselves looking at more options, even more so than in pre-pandemic times?
Google has picked up on the trend towards quality. Since mid 2021, their Google My Business unit is gradually implementing new quality tags in their review system. In certain industries and certain markets, Google My Business reviews now offer consumers to click on experiential criteria to bring more qualitative data to a review: “courtesy”, “professionalism”, “punctuality”, “product knowledge” are among these news tags. It is unclear at this stage how Google My Business actually uses the qualitative data in its ranking algorithms, but if past experience is any benchmark, it is safe to venture that at equal average rating (total number of stars/total number of reviews), Google will give an advantage in its rankings to the business getting the best qualitative data.
The Unique Selling Proposition is corporate-wide
Back in the late 1940s – early 1950s, legendary adman Rosser Reeves developed a new concept he coined the “Unique Selling Proposition” (USP). Reeves actually attributes the origin of the concept to his time in NY-based ad agency Ted Bates.
In his 1951 book “Reality in Advertising“, Reeves defines the USP along the lines of 3 principles:
- Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer… Each advertisement must say to each reader: “Buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit.”
- The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer. It must be unique…
- The proposition must be so strong that it can move the mass millions, i.e. pull over new customers to your product.
By way of example, Starbucks became what it is today because Howard Schultz’s vision was to make his coffee shop chain: “A Third Place Between the Office and Home.” In itself, the concept was brilliant, but for it to be workable, it actually had to find its incarnation in everything a Starbucks shop was.
A Unique Selling Proposition is not just product puffery or a brilliant slogan:
it is an actual experience offered to a customer throughout the entire chain of functions of the organization.
Jay Abraham, a direct mail genius of the 70s and 80s, said nothing less when he wrote:
“All your in-store clerks, telephone staff, receptionists, customer-service people — everyone with any public contact or customer interaction or anyone who makes any decision that impacts your business — must fully understand, embrace and believe in your USP. That passionate belief in your USP must become part of every employee.”
How does your marketing tie into a Unique Selling Proposition? How does every function of your organization support your Unique Selling Proposition? And how do you measure the results of the collective and individual efforts in terms of Customer Experience?
A team of result-oriented millennials
Eden Ads is a full-service digital marketing agency based in Tampa, FL. Our team is young: we are all Millennials, except for our two old barbs, Jamie and Phil, who love to remind us of sound business principles from the height of their 30-year business experience.
Although we are Millennials, we place results first, feelings second. We take your experience as a customer very seriously, almost religiously. Our philosophy of “being in service” spans across and up-and-down our agency: from the technical specialists, to the Customer Satisfaction Managers, to the support staff, all the way to the execs.
For instance, our good clients have our personal phone numbers. They know they can reach us when they need us. We will walk the extra mile for them.
For the last 10 years, our Ads Management team has successfully created and managed clients’ ad campaigns using Facebook, Google, Instagram, Amazon and LinkedIn. We run successful campaigns of all sizes and our ROAS is 5-7x. Our web design team builds high performance designs for both local clients and national brands. Our SEO team applies cutting-edge techniques to rank websites in search engines. Our SEO team lead has over 20 years in experience optimizing websites for businesses in the U.S., Europe, and China.
Free independent evaluation
Eden Ads is a full-service digital marketing agency in Tampa, FL. Our team offers qualified local businesses a unique opportunity to have their website and digital marketing/advertising campaigns fully evaluated under multiple aspects:
- ROI of Google Ads campaigns
- Finding where you waste money in your Google Ads campaigns
- ROI of Facebook campaigns
- Search engine position checks on your 2 or 3 main keywords
- General SEO-readiness
- Adequacy of mobile design
- Google speed scoring of your mobile website
This free independent evaluation can reveal weaknesses that hurt your site and prevent it to get to the top of search results. It can also highlights design issues blocking it from converting more visitors into leads. Call our web consultants today at (813) 940-5699 to request a free independent evaluation, and discuss your most pressing needs.
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