When we think of successful businesses, they all have a purpose, a vision, or something that makes them unique. In addition, they typically have extensive business practices that enhance their purpose and contribute to their success.
Think about an experience you’ve had with a retailer that made you a happy customer. In many cases, the reason for your satisfaction is due to an experience that the brand provided, whether before the purchase or after it.
This kind of experience typically is driven by a company’s purpose, especially in customer-centric organizations. Therefore I believe there is a formula that contributes to a business success, which is:
Purpose-Driven + Great Customer Experience = Business Success
A good customer experience is critical
Let’s talk about the impact of customer experience and how superior experiences can lead to business success and a competitive advantage. Peter Kriss’ article featured on Harvard Business Review depicts research on this topic that quantified the impact of a good customer experience.
For instance, customers who had the best past experiences tend to spend 140% more compared to those who had the poorest past experience. It is no surprise that there is a positive correlation between superior customer experience and sales. It does, however, drive home the point that brands must have certain factors in place to ensure a positive experience for their customers.
One key factor is customer loyalty – brands want to ensure they can keep their customers for as long as possible. An article on Forbes describes new customers as “silver” and existing customers as “gold.” The gold customers – the loyal ones – are certainly the most valuable to an organization.
Aspects that make customer experiences great
When providing great customer experiences, flexibility is vitally important, as it allows customers to choose which channels and devices they can use to interact with an brand. Providing customers with flexibility also gives them a more personalized experience. For instance, offering customers options such as “buy online pick up in store” or “buy online return in store” can help boost sales. Furthermore, allowing customers to start a search on one device (mobile) and finish the purchase on another (desktop) with a consistent experience (omnichannel) adds value and highlights the need for a responsive and easy-to-navigate site.
Providing customers with a positive experience repeatedly will lead to strong customer advocacy, where word-of-mouth can have extensive reach and be the least costly form of marketing. This might come in the form of an individual telling a friend about a retail experience they had, where that friend then buys from the brand and a domino effect starts. The resulting factor is sales start to grow, as does loyalty, and the number of the “gold” customers I mentioned earlier increases.
Data as a fuel for superior experiences
Working in the digital space with retail companies for a high-tech company, I hear numerous challenges as I talk to people about their customers. Many of these organizations are in the same boat and do not know how to tackle challenges like:
- Providing seamless experiences across channels
- Understanding customers’ behavior and providing a contextual experience
- Retaining customers
- Driving customer loyalty
- Providing customers with relevant content in real-time
To deliver truly successful customer experiences and solve these challenges, I believe brands need to understand consumer behavior and leverage real-time data so they can build a “golden customer record.” This process must be dynamic and ever-changing to ensure that brands are always in touch with their customers and continually providing a relevant and real-time personalized experience.
Delivering business success
To summarize, it is essential for businesses to be purpose-driven, as well as customer-centric. With a strong purpose, companies can focus on building a great customer experience from the beginning of the buying journey to post-sale.
Combining these two really does drive success for a business, because let’s face it, consumers want choice and they each will choose their own buying journey. Make sure it is your business that is on their journey by having a purpose and delivering a memorable customer experience.
Organizations can leverage technologies like those that SAP offers to bridge the gap between themselves and customers. We can help companies gain a 360-degree view of customers and give brands the tools they need to provide personalized and contextual buying experiences in real-time across all channels.