Reprint of an article from Forbes
Businesses that fail to focus on customer experience will hear a giant sucking sound from their vanishing profitability. Because in today’s dynamic global marketplace, consumers now hold the power in the buyer-seller equation, and sellers need to revamp their strategy for this new world order.
The ability to relentlessly deliver connected, personalized and rewarding customer experiences is rapidly becoming one of the primary sources of competitive advantage in today’s dynamic global marketplace. And the inability or unwillingness to realize that the customer is a company’s most important asset will lead, inevitably, to decline and failure.
Welcome to the lifecycle of customer experience, in which consumers explore, engage, shop, buy, ask, compare, complain, socialize, exchange, and more across multiple channels with the unconditional expectation that each of those interactions will be completed in an efficient and personalized manner however, wherever, and whenever the customer wants.
While many niche companies are offering point solutions within that sprawling and complex spectrum of needs and requirements, businesses looking to deliver superb customer experiences are still left having to do multiple product evaluations, multiple contract negotiations, multiple test projects, multiple deployments, and–perhaps most annoying of all–multiple and never-ending integration projects to string together all those niche products from all those niche vendors.
With its new suite of customer-experience solutions, Oracle believes it can help companies unravel these challenges and move at the speed of their customers, anticipating their needs and desires and creating enduring and profitable relationships. Those solutions span the full range of marketing, selling, commerce, service, listening/insights, and social and collaboration tools for employees.
When Oracle launched its suite of Customer Experience solutions at a recent event in New York City, president Mark Hurd analyzed the customer experience revolution taking place and presented Oracle’s strategy for empowering companies to capitalize on this important market shift.
From Hurd’s presentation and related materials, I’ve extracted a list of Hurd’s Top 10 Insights into the Customer Revolution.
1. Please Don’t Feed the Competitor’s Pipeline!After enduring a poor experience, 89% of consumers say they would immediately take their business to your competitor. (Except where noted, the source for these findings is the 2011 Customer Experience Impact (CEI) Report including a survey commissioned by RightNow (acquired by Oracle in March 2012) and conducted by Harris Interactive.)
2. The Addressable Market Is Massive. Only 1% of consumers say their expectations were always met by their actual experiences.
3. They’re Willing to Pay More! In return for a great experience, 86% of consumers say they’ll pay up to 25% more.
4. The Social Media Microphone Is Always Live. After suffering through a poor experience, more than 25% of consumers said they posted a negative comment on Twitter or Facebook or other social media sites. Conversely, of those consumers who got a response after complaining, 22% posted positive comments about the company.
5. The New Deal Is Never Done: Embrace the Entire Customer Lifecycle. An appropriately active and engaged relationship, says Hurd, extends across every step of the entire processs: need, research, select, purchase, receive, use, maintain, and recommend.
6. The 360-Degree Commitment. Customers want to do business with companies that actively and openly demonstrate the desire to establish strong and seamless connections across employees, the company, and the customer, says research firm Temkin Group in its report called “The CX Competencies.”
7. Understand the Emotional Drivers Behind Brand Love. What makes consumers fall in love with a brand? Among the top factors are friendly employees and customer reps (73%), easy access to information and support (55%), and personalized experiences, such as when companies know precisely what products or services customers have purchased in the past and what issues those customers have raised (36%).
8. The Importance of Immediate Action. You’ve got one week to respond–and then the opportunity’s lost. If your company needs more than a week to answer a prospect’s question or request, most of those prospects will terminate the relationship.
9. Want More Revenue, Less Churn, and More Referrals? Then improve the overall customer experience: Forrester’s research says that approach put an extra $900 million in the pockets of wireless service providers, $800 million for hotels, and $400 million for airlines.
10. The Formula for CX Success. Hurd says it includes three elegantly interlaced factors: Connected Engagement, to personalize the experience; Actionable Insight, to maximize the engagement; and Optimized Execution, to deliver on the promise of value.
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