Customer experience is a hot topic these days, and for good reason. Dozens of studies show that improving the customer experience can have a significant impact on customer retention, profitability, and growth.
For companies who provide B2B customer support there is still some hesitance and even confusion over how customer experience applies to them. Let us assure you it DOES matter in B2B, maybe even more so than in B2C. I read a great blog the other day by Temkin, well known champions of the customer experience. They're deeming 2016 "The Year of Emotion" and for good reason. After surveying 10,000 US consumers, they've come up with some pretty impressive stats for the effect emotion plays on customer loyalty (see the full infographic here).
Temkin identifies 3 dimensions of customer experience as follows:
Success - Was the interaction successful, as perceived by the customer, were they able to accomplish what they wanted to do?
Effort - How much effort did the customer have to personally put forth in the interaction, and how easy was it to interact with the company?
Emotion - What was the emotional outcome, how did the customer feel during the interaction? Answers can range from "upset" to "delighted".
Temkin digs into the 3 components of customer experience to determine the importance of each in a customer's overall perception of a company, their loyalty, and their likeness to purchase more.
It turns out that Emotion actually has a stronger impact on customer loyalty and repeat purchases than either success or effort. If you think about it this way, success is about the result and effort is self-explanatory, but emotion is how the company makes you feel. So if it's easy to contact a company for customer support, and they resolve your issue shouldn't that make you feel good? Not necessarily. What if the agent you spoke with treated you with disdain, or disrespected you, or made you feel as if you were a huge pain in their behind and they were doing you a favor by resolving your issue? You're not likely to think of that as a positive experience, and you're also not likely to recommend that company to your peers. Colin Shaw, founder & CEO of Beyond Philosophy, explains how important the memory of an experience is in his post "Why the Customer Experience Doesn't Create Loyalty".
How the customer feels when they interact with your company is ultimately the deciding factor in how much business they are going to do with you. So as you focus on the customer in 2016, make sure you consider the entire experience, including emotion (the "human" element) along with your resolution statistics.
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