Creating and maintaining first class relationships with consumers continues to be a high priority for customer marketers in 2017. Improvements in customer service over recent years have led to a corresponding increase in customer expectations – consumer awareness of what excellence looks like is high. This can pose a challenge for brands seeking to maximise the return from their customer experience strategy.
According to KPMG Nunwood’s annual Customer Experience Excellence study, 2017 has actually seen British brands hit the lowest level in the report’s eight year history for overall performance in customer service, with a CEE (Customer Experience Excellence) score of 7.08, down from 7.33 in the previous year. Shockingly, this comes despite billions of pounds of investment into improving customer relations across the board.
The good news is that, for the top scorers, customer experience continues to be a mechanism to lever for increased profitability. Top scorers this year include QVC, rising eighteen places from 2016 to top the list, and John Lewis Finance, who made a new appearance in second place. Financial Services brand Skipton Building Society are also notable for their twenty-six place rise into the top ten performers.
Savvy brands need to master how to maximise the value proposition inherent in improving overall customer experience. Here’s how:
Consistency is key
Delivering a consistent strategy across all channels is vital for creating value in customer service. Every touchpoint of the customer journey needs to reflect a connected vision for excellence. Customers today use a wide variety of devices and channels to interact with a brand, and nothing will make that customer feel less valued than receiving conflicting information between them all.
Whilst most businesses will look to consistently improve the customer experience, the ones who achieve real stand out success are those who translate this innovation into a commercial value driver. Commenting on this year’s findings, David Conway, Director at KPMG Nunwood said, “Memorable customer experience is vital in order to achieve brand advocacy and loyalty. While most businesses seek to improve customer experience, a company must go beyond simply meeting expectations and exceed them in order to leave a lasting impression.”
Innovate for success
The brands that drive the greatest value from the customer experience are those who seek out innovation, building on events in their customers’ lives to push new standards for excellence. As Adrian Clamp, UK Head of Customer Advisory at KPMG Nunwood puts it, “In order to differentiate from the competition and leave a positive impression on consumers, companies can no longer rely on tried and tested methods. Winners in the race for customer loyalty are those that have learned how to harness customer insight data and technologies to deliver positive memorable experiences every time.”