Moving forward is what 2021 is all about. We’ve made it out of 2020, and now business leaders have the opportunity to apply the learnings from the past 12 months to drive business growth. With 58 per cent of consumers stating they believe brands and companies need to find new ways to engage their customers as a result of the pandemic, the challenge and opportunity is clear. For businesses, success rests on providing an award-winning customer experience (CX) that truly delights customers and inspires them to return, writes Kat Warboys, Head of Marketing at HubSpot, ANZ
Research reveals that 80 per cent of companies who prioritise CX report an increase in revenue. So, with marketing and sales’ core role to build customer rapport and trust, business leaders must work together with these teams to deliver positive customer experiences.
How can Australian businesses provide exceptional CX in 2021 and beyond?
1. Start with prioritising customer experience
Rethinking business priorities is critical for success in 2021. When we asked sales decision-makers what they are ranking in terms of priority, revenue generation came in at the top spot, with nearly 40 per cent ranking it as their number one priority. Trailing in second place was measuring and improving CX at just 15 per cent.
Given last year’s uncertainty, business leaders can hardly be blamed for choosing to prioritise revenue above all else. Many SMEs were focused on keeping the cash coming in and flowing to stay afloat. However, as businesses recover and pave the way forward, prioritising the customer experience can no longer be an afterthought.
HubSpot recently conducted a study digging into the significant shift that has occurred for sales professionals, consumers and businesses across the country in 2020. A striking finding was the disconnect between sales leaders’ priorities and consumer views. While consumers note major pain points in the buying process, business leaders are focused on prioritising revenue. But this disconnect can land businesses in hot water.
The saying “it’s not what you sell, it’s how you sell” has never reigned more true. Our research evidenced this, with 83 per cent of consumers agreeing CX impacts their likelihood to purchase with a particular brand, with this being more important for Gen Z and Millennials than for Baby Boomers.
Add to this that customers will spend nearly 20 per cent more if the experience is good, the competitive advantage is crystal clear. The businesses that are prioritising CX are getting repeat purchases, word-of-mouth referrals and are building brand ambassadors because the experience is that good.
2. Listen up and act on it
When it comes to business, feedback is the breakfast of champions. If businesses don’t know what’s right, they can’t do more of it — and vice versa. Without customer feedback, businesses are destined to fail. Asking for, listening to it and understanding what drives customer satisfaction enables business leaders to create a great CX and leads to consumer loyalty.
Knowing how to gather, share and implement customer feedback allows businesses to not only grow, but grow better, and there’s a strategic system for gathering and implementing customer feedback known as the A.C.A.F. Customer Feedback Loop. It starts with asking the customer for feedback, categorising the feedback, acting on the feedback, and following up with customers who shared feedback.
By listening to customer feedback, businesses have the opportunity to amend the flaws in their sales process. Almost half (47 per cent) of respondents attribute a good customer experience to a skilled sales representative. Listening up and acting to customer feedback can help solve critical problems that impact the customer’s experience, including lengthy sales processes and delayed communication.
3. Recognise that CX is everyone’s responsibility
The whole of business is responsible for CX and a focus on the customer should be at the heart of every company’s initiatives. This means understanding who your customers are and how you can serve them to help them achieve their goals.
The experience a customer receives is defined by both the larger organisational initiatives and the smaller, everyday decisions. The CX isn’t a singular or transactional event, it’s a business ethos that spans the whole organisation.
The challenge of becoming a customer-centric organisation requires investment in solving for the customer from the ground up. Delivering an exceptional CX is only made possible through this customer-centric ethos and a collaborative approach with all business units.
The secret weapon to business success is CX, and the whole of business is responsible for its successful execution. Downplaying the importance of listening to customer feedback and pivoting CX strategies in a corresponding way is no longer an option for businesses, as the voice of the customer continues to grow every day.
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