In my last blog, I discussed how brands are struggling to find ways to serve the needs of the business while also serving the evolving needs and expectations of their customers. Unfortunately, there’s still a serious gap between how well brands think they’re doing when it comes to customer experience (CX), and customers’ perceptions.
Our 2019 US CX Trends Report took a closer look at several specific gaps. We surveyed 1000 consumers and 300 brands to these disconnects, as well as what brands can to do address them. The first trend we uncovered was how brands go about trying to understand how and why customers feel the way they do.
Customer data is one of the most precious sources of intelligence in understanding the health and wealth of your business. Companies are spending billions of dollars each year scrutinizing the vast number of digital interactions, from click through and online conversion rates, to social posts and online reviews.
And while these online measures of customer satisfaction and sentiment can deliver important information, the most essential information may lie somewhere else. In the study, we asked consumers about the most important thing brands can do to capture how they feel about them and the experiences they are providing. Options included monitoring their posts on online review sites, monitoring their social posts, capturing conversation with staff, as well as monitoring digital behaviors. Overwhelmingly, customers chose something else: asking them directly.
Nearly 70 percent of customers selected this option, with only 40 percent of brands reporting the same. And while the 30-point gap is notable, only 26 percent of brands said they are actually having direct conversations with customers about their experiences.
Brands also placed more emphasis than customers on the importance of online review sites and customers’ social posts. Because reputation management is definitely an important factor, it makes sense that brands place outsized emphasis on public forums, both encouraging positive chatter and quickly quashing the negative. And while companies must continue to monitor, respond, and take to heart what they are hearing online, prioritizing these forums at the expense of direct conversations may skew their view of the customer experience, which affects a slew of actions — from how to prioritize fixes and choosing which new ideas to elevate, to how company leaders and employees view and treat customers. When you feel and act as if you are always under public fire it will impact the foundations of your customer relationships.
To sum it all up, brands need to encourage customers to talk to them, not just about them. The answer for this disconnect is to open channels for direct feedback between you and your customers. Make it as easy as possible for them to tell you how they feel about your brand. Don’t shy away from asking them the important questions, and be sure to weigh both asking and listening wisely.
Thankfully, today’s technologies enable brands to do this at scale, and in a very personalized way. Harnessing customer listening platforms to capture, understand, and socialize the authentic voice of your customer is a powerful way to bring and keep the human element of the relationship front and center for both customers and employees.
Download the full “2019 CX Trends Report” to learn about the five trends you need to know as well as actionable takeaways to help you bridge the gap with your customers and create excellent customer experiences!