Massive changes in consumer behavior since the COVID-19 pandemic saw millions of people primarily interact with brands in a digital-first capacity for the first time. Today, the importance of the customer experience (CX) across all the channels has never been more relevant to a brand's success, as the customer experience touches every aspect of a company’s operations and offerings.

American consumers are very clear about what they are looking for in terms of a customer experience from the brands they interact with. Nearly 80% of American consumers say that speed, convenience/ease-of-use, knowledgeable assistance and friendly service are the most important elements of a positive customer experience, according to a PWC survey.

The customer experience also has a significant impact on customer purchasing behavior. Seventy-three percent of respondents to the survey said the experience is an important factor in their purchasing decisions, right behind price and product quality.

Furthermore, customers are willing to pay more for a customer experience with the qualities that matter to them:

  • 43% of consumers said they would pay more for better convenience
  • 42% would pay more for a friendly, welcoming experience
  • Overall, consumers will pay a 16% price premium for a great customer experience

It is incumbent on business and technology leadership to leverage technologies that truly impact the quality of the customer experience in the ways consumers have requested, and focus on the most important components of the customer experience.

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What Are the Critical Components of the Customer Experience?

When customers feel appreciated by the brands they interact with, companies receive measurable results for their business.

1. Value

Sixty-three percent of consumers said they’d be more open to sharing their data for a product or service they truly valued.

Providing and showing value, not just pushing messaging, to a consumer is one of the most important elements of a quality customer experience. It’s not just about serving up ads on a third-party site, but about providing quality content recommendations and offers that align well to the interests of the consumer.

If a customer feels they received value from your brand, they will trust you more and entrust you with their information. In turn, they will feel more valued because you are offering them things they actually need.

Not providing value to a customer with a bad experience can be very damaging to a business. Fifty-nine percent of consumers said they will walk away from a brand after several bad experiences. Seventeen percent said they would walk away after just one bad experience, according to the PWC survey.

2. Reliable and Available

The reliability of the systems and networks that a customer connects to is critical to ensuring a great customer experience. Organizations who have a high-quality customer experience will integrate their different channels into an omnichannel marketing program where customers can be communicated with to ensure a consistent response against a single user.

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems, data management platforms (DMPs) and customer data platforms (CDPs) allow tech and marketing leadership to understand customers' intent and needs across multiple channels, so they can tailor the customer experience based on the customer's previous history.

Modern leaders are deploying more self-help solutions to give customers access to assistance when live support staff may not be available. Artificial intelligence-powered technologies like chatbots alleviate overworked customer support staff, help route calls to the most qualified agent as well as determine intent and tone of the caller. Call back technology is another way of trying to reduce the ire of customers dealing with long wait-times.

Learning Opportunities

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3. Personalized

When customers engage with high-quality personalization, they feel valued and have a more positive view of a brand. In fact, 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions, and 76% get frustrated when this doesn’t happen, according to McKinsey.

Business leaders agree. Seventy-five percent of business leaders say personalization is table stakes for digital experiences, according to Twilio.

With a well-planned and executed personalization strategy, businesses can differentiate themselves from competitors while increasing engagement and improving customer satisfaction.

The personalization market is entering a new phase of maturity and growth. According to 360i Research, the global personalization software market is expected to reach $943.25 million in 2022, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23% to reach $2.72 billion by 2027.

AI is driving much of the growth in personalization. According to BusinessWire, analysts forecast the global AI-based personalization market to grow at a CAGR of close to 13% by 2022.

Personalization delivers bottom-line results for the business. Companies that leverage personalization effectively generate 40% more revenue than companies that don’t. Personalization can reduce customer acquisition costs (CAC) by up to 50%, while increasing marketing spend efficiency by up to 30%. Finally, 86% of marketers have seen a measurable lift in business results from their personalization campaigns.

Looking Forward

The customer experience has never been more important for brands and organizations that want to differentiate themselves from competitors, as well as deliver messaging to digital-first customers who have higher expectations than ever of the companies they have relationships with.

Being able to tailor the customer experience across every channel a customer uses to interact with your brand is now table stakes for modern data-driven companies. Deploying the right technology solutions, to not just understand customers as full people, but to tailor the customer experience, wherever that customer may be, is critical.

But in the end, technology alone won’t be able to solve all customer experience issues. Ensuring the relationship between customer and brand is mutually beneficial by delivering value to the customer should be top of mind. Ensuring the technology platforms and service options are reliable and available will go a long way toward building trust with your business.