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In my opinion, the customer experience is sorely lacking in businesses and has been trounced by the overwhelming desire for more digital. That's the headline. With more and more digital tools becoming available to businesses, I sense the "checkbox" approach to adding the most recent digital tools to the company repertoire has become even more prevalent than in the past. This has occurred mainly because those tools have created a lot of demand and work for the teams that need to be responsible for the development, operation and success of a customer experience strategy. Is it possible that this additional excitement for digital and increased workload because of it has sucked-away the time and opportunity to create an amazing customer experience for our customers at every touch point? Hmm...
The Urgency-Effect of Digital
As a marketer, one of my jobs is to stay on top of what useful tools and trends are emerging so that I can better use my time and the resources for the company. If I really think about this, the "spin" that is occurring is when digital companies launch a new product or even a new feature set on an already existing product or service platform, us marketers want it now -- Yes, I do mean now. The urgency-effect in the digital world, especially marketing has caused us practitioners to want to adopt it faster than immediately, and dare I say, once we start that digital adoption process, it's nearly unstoppable. There's no time to think about whether it's a good thing or not because our peers are already asking us moments after this new thing is released if we've used it yet. Sometimes I want to say... please give me time to download the app and see what it's all about before the world starts cramming it down my throat to use it and making me feel bad that I am not. Let's take this urgency-effect a step further.
If the digital marketplace continues to forge ahead like it has over the past 5 years, it's possible that we will still be in a compromising position than we are in now. There will be thousands of additional products and feature releases for us to deal with and integrate into our life and business workflow. How can a business survive the continual onslaught of digital and technology without giving the attention to the customer experience?
The Customer Experience Needs Attention
How about we slow-down the technology craze for more than a moment so all of us in business can focus on the customer and their experience which sorely needs some life support. After all, we are all customers and we have all seen those crappy experiences with businesses whether it's on our iPhone, on a website, a social media page, on the phone or somewhere else. We know it exists and it doesn't appear to be getting better. Do we really want more digital immediacy in our business as a trade off for a less effective customer experience? You know folks... that appears to be what's happening and most businesses are headed in that direction.
"Customer frustration leads to the following: 13% tell 15 or more people if they're unhappy. Conversely, 72% of consumers will share a positive experience with 6 or more people." - Esteban Kolsky - CEO of thinkJar
In a Huffington Post article called 50 Important Customer Experience Stats for Business Leaders, author Vala Afshar shares some insightful stats from thinkJar CEO, Estaban Kolsky on why the customer experience is critically important.
• 91% of unhappy customers who are non-complainers simply leave
• 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for an upgraded experience
• It is 6-7X more expensive for companies to attract new customers than to keep existing customers
Stop The Digital Train - I Want To Get on The Customer Train
The last time I checked, customers are the most important component in a business. After all, sales does cure all right? Without sales and without customers, nobody has a job - at least not for long anyway. Over the last few years, technology spending has skyrocketed, but we know the customer experience has suffered because of it. If I could alter the future and the direction of where these two very important parts of business are headed now, I would hit the "pause" button on adding new digital technology temporarily. I would then craft an entirely new customer experience using the tools and resources we have now to make all of my customers feel amazingly special, all the time. I know that is a daunting task, however, as Forrester explains in their research, we must be customer obsessed. If businesses cannot provide the immediate value customer's expect, unfortunately, those same customers will look to other brands for the experience they want.
Unfortunately, our obsession has been on other things that are taking away from giving our attention to the customer experience. What we really want is our customers' falling head over heels for our business, our service and our level of care all because they love the way they were treated and can't wait to tell someone about it. Now that's an amazing customer experience we can't afford it ignore.