The age-old business mantra ‘the customer is king’ may be an overused cliché from decades past, but its basic tenet of customer centricity is more relevant than ever. Delivering an exceptional customer experience is critical for ongoing business success, and here’s why it should be at the top of your priorities.
- It’s the new commercial battleground
In today’s financial services industry, there’s often little distinction between products and pricing across competitors, so standout service and a seamless experience can really clinch the deal for your customers. For firms looking to boost their satisfaction levels, a relatively unengaged customer base is another significant hurdle to overcome. What can we learn from other industries?
Amazon has dominated the customer experience revolution since the company’s formation in the mid-nineties. The key to Amazon’s success? According to CEO Jeff Bezos, it’s their ‘obsession’ with customers – truly understanding them, imagining what they want even before they do, and reaping the benefits as a result.
- Increase customer loyalty
Retaining customers is highly valuable – research suggests that just a 5% increase in customer retention generates more than a 25% increase in profit.
For consumers in the mortgage market, it almost always pays to switch providers when the fixed-rate deal ends, and digital innovations and increased choice means customers are more empowered than ever. Want to discourage your customers from switching? Creating an experience that exceeds your customers’ expectations and, crucially, rewards loyalty will ensure they will want to continue doing business with you.
- Protect your reputation
Earlier this year, British Airways (BA) flights from London Heathrow and Gatwick airports ground to a halt after an electrical contractor accidentally damaged their servers and the back-up systems failed, proving that customer experience extends beyond your front-line staff to include everyone with the potential to influence it, including contractors. Despite a relatively robust brand, YouGov estimated that BA’s ‘Index’ score, which considers consumer perception on quality and value, had fallen a significant 9.5 points.
The budget airline Ryanair has also recently been hit by back-office failures. Known for its competitively low fares rather than a smooth customer experience, errors in pilot rostering resulted in the cancellation of hundreds of flights.
Ironically, it was only in 2014 that Ryanair launched its ‘Always Getting Better’ customer experience programme, with the airline’s boss Michael O’Leary touting “if I’d only learned in college that being nice [to customers] was good for business I’d have done it years ago”. However, the drop in share price following recent events shows that good customer service alone doesn’t always result in an improved customer experience, if not supported by robust back-office processes.
Much like in the highly-competitive aviation industry, back office fiascos and IT debacles can result in vast expense and inconvenience for affected customers in financial services, so firms would be wise to learn from these airlines’ mistakes to avoid similar PR mishaps.
For information on how you can optimise your customer experience to ensure business success, have a read of Recordsure’s step-by-step guide.