Customers’ expectations are growing in all industries, both B2C and B2B. They are higher than ever. They know what a great customer experience is and expect it from anyone and everyone they do business with. This is fueled by rock-star companies like Netflix and Amazon, which understand their customers and know how to deliver an experience that sets them apart and makes them stand out.
I have a client who ordered an expensive piece of equipment. He commented on how poor the communication was from the manufacturer. Specifically, he said, “Amazon emails me when my toilet paper is being delivered. Why can’t I get an email when they are shipping the half-million-dollar piece of machinery we ordered?”
The point is that our world is being shaped by Amazon, Netflix, and other customer-focused organizations. They communicate well. They deliver a personalized experience. They know who their customers are and their customers know it. These experiences are crossing into customers’ expectations for all the brands and companies they do business with.
Recently, Zoom in commissioned Frost & Sullivan to conduct a study to understand customers’ latest expectations and needs better. I connected with Gal Oron, the co-founder and CEO of Zoom in, who shared some of the results. As usual, I’ll add my comments to the findings that he shared with me.
Amazon and Netflix have disrupted customer experience across all industries.
This is what inspired me to write this article. Customers’ expectations in the B2C and B2B worlds are now similar. Companies must provide an experience that is not only as good, if not better, than the competition. It should also be on par with the companies that have taught our customers what great service looks like.
Digital and self-service solutions are becoming an expectation in the B2B world.
Netflix and Amazon (and other companies known for easy, exceptional customer experiences) have conditioned our customers to expect and prefer self-service solutions. What can your company do that Amazon does? How can AI play a part in your customer’s experience: making suggestions, anticipating needs, etc.?
Business leaders stand to significantly gain from understanding that technical content experiences directly lead to brand judgment on the part of the customer.
In other words, customer experience is the new branding. According to the Zoom in study, 84% of users stated that they would switch to another brand if their experience when searching for answers to their product questions was poor. The good news is that 90% agree that a good content experience would make them more likely to recommend the product to others. Consumers want convenience when it comes to customer support.
How executives perceive their CX and how customers perceive that same CX is very different. This has major business implications for companies that heed or fail to heed that perception gap.
The study indicated that there is a big divide. Almost two-thirds of the executives surveyed believed looking for technical service support was easy, while only 37% of their customers felt the same way. It’s really not important if the executives think they provide a good experience. It’s the customers’ perceptions that count. Their perceptions are their reality.
Consider that, more and more, our customers are turning to self-service and digital options as they make purchases and seek customer support. It’s not 100% of customers, but it’s enough to pay attention to. Our 2021 Achieving Customer Amazement study found that 67% of customers use self-service tools. The Frost and Sullivan survey found that while 81% of customers prefer self-service, less than 6% can find answers on their first try. (Ouch!)
Amazon and Netflix understand that their customers like control. And they know that control comes in the form of self-service, both in the sales process and customer support. This has molded our customers’ expectations to something entirely different than they were even just a few years ago.
The result is a new standard. And, while your business may not have any resemblance to the ways these iconic brands conduct business and provide their stellar customer experience, it doesn’t mean your customers don’t expect it—or at least something close.
This article has been reprinted with permission from Shep Hyken´s Forbes page.