There’s no question that the digital economy is changing most aspects of the business world. But is it also reimagining the customer experience? Absolutely!
As more people reach for their favorite device to follow the news, share experiences, and shop, companies no longer have any wiggle room for disappointing interactions. In fact, The Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Research estimates that $6.2 trillion in revenue was up for grabs in 2014 as consumers left one brand for another, largely due to poor customer experiences.
And it’s not just the big players that are at risk. According to Digitalist Magazine’s 99 Facts on the Future of Business in the Digital Economy, 97% of all consumers search for local businesses online. However, consumers are not just searching for small businesses – they are also detailing their experiences with your brand. As Brian Solis, bestselling author of What’s the Future of Business (WTF), puts it, “Businesses are no longer the sole creator of a brand; it is co-created by consumers through shared experiences and defined by the results of online searches and conversations.”
One slip up – and the whole world knows
Although partnering with other businesses for supply chain, sales, and distribution support is nothing new, companies must keep a closer eye on those relationships more than ever before. If the customer experience is disrupted at any point of the interaction, your brand reputation is impacted – even if your partner is at fault.
Recent research is revealing that customers are highly responsive to the quality of the experience they receive. For example, Nielsen found that approximately 90% of the buying decision is made subconsciously. Yet if a negative emotion, such as frustration or anger, is encountered somewhere along the buying experience, 66% of B2B customers and 52% of B2C consumers will go elsewhere. All the while, most customers are all too willing to let their friends and family know why they should change their mind too – online and in person.
In the SAP Center for Business Insight Q&A How to Reduce Risk in the Collaborative Customer Experience, Curtis Bingham, executive director of the chief customer officer council, advises, “Customers don’t care who owns what parts of the value chain. They have a deal with you, the retailer, and they hold you accountable. The customer’s social and financial contract is with the company, not with whoever is standing there at the last mile.”
4 steps for driving positive customer experiences throughout your business network
If you are like most companies, you’re probably serving your customers with a network of partners. Are you sure that your partners are building the emotional affinity needed to drive customer loyalty during every interaction? As business networks continue to expand, answering this question will become more difficult – unless you get a handle on it now.
In the digital era, it’s all about collaboration. Just be sure to ask yourself these four questions to ensure every partner is on the same page in your customer service playbook.
- Is your partnership worth the risk? Compare each individual partner with the rest of your network to pinpoint those that are lagging behind and others that are moving your business forward. With integrated data, you can determine whether a partner is performing at the same level as the rest of your network.
- Do your partners share your values? No matter which partner is interacting with a customer, your core values should always be reflected. Whether you’re known for simplicity, product availability, fast service, or consistency, customers should view your network as one seamless representation of your brand.
- Can you trust them? In this case, trust goes a long way. If you want your partners to care about the customer experience as must as you do, treat them as well as your customers.
- Can your supply chain drive the customer experience? In the past, companies dictated the supplier’s terms for service delivery. Over time, companies realized that this was not necessarily the best way to fully unleash the potential of the relationships. Suppliers deliver higher-quality services when the partnership is collaborative and offered positive performance incentives.
Find out how your business and its partners can collaborate for a better customer experience. Download the in-depth report “The Collaborative Customer Experience: Why You Can’t Go It Alone Anymore” and the expert Q&A “How to Reduce Risk in the Collaborative Customer Experience.