Originally published in Rental Management, July 2017
According to a Walker study, by the year 2020, the customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
For so many years, companies have been focused on quoting prices and relying on product reputation to set themselves apart from the competition. That is going to change.
Today’s customers are more informed and educated. They have done their research before contacting you. They typically know what they want and what they expect to pay, so often the transaction may come down to their experience.
At the fundamental level, improving the customer experience will help you increase customer retention, customer satisfaction and sales.
Customer retention. You may be aware that it can cost five times as much to attract a new customer than it is to keep an existing one. Acquiring new customers is important, but can be expensive. However, 44 percent of companies have a greater focus on customer acquisition versus 18 percent that focus on retention.
It will be difficult to retain customers if they don’t have a good or exceptional experience. You worked so hard to acquire the customer, don’t have their experience chase them away.
Customer satisfaction. What is your strategy to make certain your customers are satisfied and happy with their experience? Training needs to be an important component of that strategy. Every employee needs to understand his or her role in creating that exceptional customer experience — it does not happen by accident.
Sales. Companies with a record of consistently delivering an exceptional customer experience will see a greater effect on sales. For example, loyal customers generate more referrals. Some studies have determined that 65 percent of a company’s new business can come from referrals.
You also need to consider the impact of upselling and cross-selling. A customer who is receiving a good experience will be more likely to consider other products and services. A Zendeck survey indicates that 52 percent of consumers have purchased more from a company after having a positive customer service experience. Conversely,
66 percent of business-to-business customers stopped buying after a bad customer service experience.
Customers continue to expect great service and that is not going to change. They are going to compare the service they receive from your company to others — either consciously or unconsciously. Think Apple, Amazon, Starbucks and other industry leaders.
If you can provide that level of service, then you are in a better position to succeed. For many companies, it will require a cultural shift, ongoing training, reinforcement and other dynamic programs. It will be well worth the investment.
— Barry Himmel
Barry Himmel is a senior vice president for Signature Worldwide, a Dublin, Ohio-based company offering a range of customized customer experience training for rental, equipment, and other industries. For more information on Signature’s training or other related programs, call 800-398-0518 or visit signatureworldwide.com.