While a positive Customer Experience (CX) with brands is a primary driver in consumer buying decisions, CX over the past year did not improve or has gotten worse, according to The Alida 2021 Global Trends Report: Customer Experience, a new global study by Total Experience Management leader, Alida. Customers, however, are willing to help companies improve their CX, but feel their voices are not being heard. The result: a negative impact on sales and long-term brand loyalty.
The study, released today, surveyed 5,300 consumers across five countries (Australia, Canada, India, U.K., and U.S.) and found that 92% agreed that CX is an important factor in their purchase decisions and long-term brand loyalty. More than 8 out of 10 customers indicated they’re willing to spend more for a better customer service experience, placing greater emphasis on their personal experience vs. convenience. Bad personal experience (79%) and poor brand reputation (65%) were also cited as the biggest influences in making a purchase.
Despite this, 52% of those surveyed said that, over the last year, CX did not improve or was worse. The biggest offenders: banks, in-person retail, and credit card companies.
Ninety-five per cent (95%) of consumers, however, are willing to help brands improve in these and other areas. Unfortunately, 75% believe brands are simply not listening to their feedback, and one in ten believe businesses will never use customer feedback to inform business decisions.
“The past year has seen a fundamental shift in how consumers interact with brands, forcing companies to change the way they engage with and stay close to their customers,” said Nicole Kealey, Chief Strategy Officer, Alida. “Being reactive is no longer a viable business strategy. Our study shows that business leaders are missing out on a tremendous opportunity to harness the insight and opinions directly from their customer base to create a better customer experience, drive sales and increase customer loyalty.”
Ignoring customers comes with consequences — 4 out of 5 consumers state that they are highly motivated to do business elsewhere after a bad customer experience. The majority of respondents stated that they are also likely to leave a bad review, something that can have a negative long-term impact on a business given that negative social reviews influence the purchase decision of six in ten respondents.
“As all industries look to best navigate a post-pandemic world, companies must understand that one of their most important assets to success is a happy customer,” adds Kealey. “A customer who has enjoyed your products, services and experiences will come back again and recommend you to their friends and family. But competition will become fierce and optimizing every step of the brand experience will be critical. To do so, brands must integrate CX into their overarching business strategy and employ the tools they need to truly understand their customers and take action.”