Digital MarketingCX is as important as product or price, says new report

CX is as important as product or price, says new report

Arm Treasure Data and Forbes Insight study reveals 74% of consumers are at least somewhat likely to buy based on experience alone.

30-second summary:

  • A new report from Forbes Insight and Arm Treasure Data finds that customer experience (CX) is not just important to a brand’s business – it is a brand’s business.
  • The report defines CX as not only all interactions and perceptions a customer has with a brand in buying a product, but all interactions and perceptions that begin with researching a product or attempting to solve a problem that ends up with the product purchase.
  • Meeting CX expectations is difficult, the report said, because of such reasons as the high bar set by CX leaders like Warby Parker and the difficulties in finding the right CX people.

Seventy-four percent of consumers are somewhat or very likely to buy from a company based entirely on their experience – regardless of the price or product. And seventy-seven percent consider a company’s CX to be just as important as the quality of its products or services.

So says a new study, “Proving the Value of CX: How to Place Customer Experience at the Center of Your Business” [free, registration required], conducted by Forbes Insight in association with customer data platform Arm Treasure Data.

It also found that 65 percent of respondents would become a long-term customer of a brand that provides a positive experience throughout an entire customer journey, from initial interest, through purchase and to customer service.

Starts with the problem

“Companies need to look hard at their customer touchpoints, both in-store and online, and understand what their customers value most and where improvements can be made,” Arm Treasure Data Global Head of Marketing Tom Treanor told ClickZ via email.

“While many companies may consider their culture ‘customer-centered,’” he added, “it was surprising to see that nearly half (45%) of CX leaders surveyed define CX as ‘the customer’s aggregate perception of your company based on all their interactions with your brand, product or service.’”

“This view,” he said, “overlooks that a customer’s experience begins well before they interact with a product or service, [starting] when they identify a problem and begin to look for a solution.”

So, if these stats overwhelmingly bolster the case for high-quality CX, what’s stopping every brand from doing so?

The report said that a quarter of surveyed executives charged with CX responsibilities attribute some of their problems with implementation to finding the right people.

Another challenge: customers’ expectations for CX is being set by the brand leaders, like Casper, Warby Parker or Trader Joe’s.

A customer-centered company

But a key challenge is a clear definition of exactly what CX is. For instance, it’s also not just the public perception of a brand.

Instead, the report says, it’s “more about whether a company can holistically fulfill customers’ expectations across every part of their journey—from awareness to post-sale and across every touchpoint where people can engage with the brand.”

Marketing alone can’t fulfill these expectations, the report says, because it’s not just about whether one company’s experience is better than another’s. Instead, the report says:

“A more accurate way to think about CX is as the sum of customers’ activities in pursuit of solving a problem, including interactions with a brand and their offerings. This definition includes essential facts about CX that aren’t captured in the traditional mindset, such as the fact that a customer’s experience doesn’t begin when they encounter a company’s products or services. It begins when they recognize they have a problem. This approach is the fundamental idea within the culture of a customer-centered company, as opposed to the culture of a product-centered company.”

Basic CX

From a customer’s point of view, the report said the basic CX that customers expect include:

  • Empathetic customer service reps
  • A brand being able to resolve questions on first try
  • Resolving inquiries on live platforms, like phone or instant messaging
  • 24/7 availability for customer service reps
  • Relevant recommendations for additional products, even after just one purchase

Other methods cited for describing an opinion about a brand: first-hand experience through product sampling, positive verified purchase reviews and referrals from families and friends.

The report noted that fulfilling these expectations requires a brand to bring together all the data and expertise into a single view of a customer. Arm Treasure Data offers a Customer Data Platform, which is designed to do just that.

The new report is based on two surveys. One, of CX executives, queried over 200 global executives in marketing, sales, product, IT and CX, who bore key responsibilities for CX and whose organization had at least $150 million in annual revenue. The other survey looked at more than a thousand consumers around the world, spread across age groups and income brackets.

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