Looking to offer the best possible customer experience? Then recognise the balance of power has shifted
Customer experience is one of the key battlegrounds where 21st century businesses can, and must, differentiate themselves if they want to succeed. Any organisation looking to do this will have to understand and face the four fundamental forces: a shift in power towards consumers, an ever-expanding volume of data, new communication channels created in the digital transition, and the need to maintain regulatory compliance. But what do these forces look like?
This summer, Quadient commissioned a survey of 8,061 adults in the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands. The implications for businesses are clear – consumers have more awareness of their power, and are more willing to use it. They also have increased expectations of the experience businesses provide, and understand just how value the personal data they share is. In particular:
- Consumers are proactive – 76 will switch from a business that doesn’t meet their customer experience expectations
- Consumers understand their value – across Europe, consumers value the personal data they share at a minimum of €151 euros a month – which they expect to be provided through experiences such as free or improved services, special offers and promotions
- Consumers feel powerful – 44 percent say they have more power compared to five years ago
- Consumers value communication – 83 percent say it’s an important factor when deciding whether to stick with a business
- Consumers expect compliance – 77 percent say businesses’ data protection is a major factor when deciding whether or not to use them
Whether they like it or not, businesses in every industry have to adapt to consumers’ new power and customer experience expectations. Quadient also inspected consumers’ view of retail, healthcare, insurance, banking and local government to see how they met customer expectations.
Retail is seen as making the most progress by most consumers, with banking and healthcare close behind and insurance tailing. What isn’t in doubt is that local government has the most work to do in meeting expectations – 41 percent of consumers gave it the bottom rank.
One hallmark of the modern customer experience is using mobile apps to both communicate and provide essential services. Again, consumers rate local government as the worst performer, with 53 percent ranking it bottom. Banking is the best performer, with retail a near second. Insurance, while not the worst, still has some catching up to do – only 8 percent of consumers rated it as the best performing industry.
The stakes in customer experience stakes are high – those businesses that cannot understand and adapt to the four forces will see themselves overtaken by the competition, and abandoned by customers. Whether leading the field in banking and retail, or struggling to catch up in local government, businesses need to ensure they can connect with current and future customers through exceptional, meaningful and accurate experiences across the entire organisation. Without this, consumers will never feel that they are getting the value they expect.
The statistics come from Quadient’s research report: Investigating the forces shaping the customer experience battleground. For more insight, view and download the full report at Investigating the forces shaping the customer experience battleground in the UK