Brands and retailers know that a poor shopping experience can repel their customers, but recently released research from Sitel Group reveals that one-third of consumers “considered breaking up with a brand while another 65 percent severed ties with a brand as a result of a poor customer experience (CX).”
Over the past year, as shoppers flocked online, CX has taken on greater importance along with a need for increasing customer loyalty and lifetime customer value. Sitel Group said in its report that “while most brands recognize the benefits of building customer loyalty, recognizing and acting on the fundamental drivers of customer loyalty can be a complex task that if not done correctly, can lead to a damaged reputation and negative perceptions among consumers.” Which is hard to reverse.
The Sitel Group white paper, titled, “Driving Customer Loyalty: Perception, Effort and Action,” analyzed how retailers and brands create customer loyalty and what needs to be considered in regard to what consumers value in a shopping experience.
“Understanding what consumers value from a brand may be even more complex in a post-COVID-19 economy as they have been forced to adapt how they interact with brands due to the pandemic,” the company said in a statement. “Despite changes in communication, nearly all respondents (97 percent) believe brands are working to deliver a positive CX. But, only 43 percent of all respondents agree this effort is making a tangible difference, meaning that 57 percent of customers believe brands still need to do more to align with their expectations.”
Martin Wilkinson-Brown, chief marketing officer at the Sitel Group, said as the industry moves into a post-pandemic environment, “heightened competition for customer loyalty will create a greater emphasis on CX. The 2021 ‘Driving Customer Loyalty’ white paper confirms the importance of positive customer experiences and the correlation to customer retention. Although our research found that customers trust that brands are working to deliver positive experiences, unless consumers see this translated into action, the effort to improve CX will fall flat.”
Aside from offering value, the report found that web site ease of use and customer service were important in building customer loyalty. The research showed that 42 percent of those polled “say the perception that the brand offers good value for money is a top driver.”
The authors of the report noted that this sentiment “holds true across all age groups and demographics in the U.S. and U.K.” Regarding service, the CX attributes customers “most closely associated with a brand’s commitment to the delivery of a positive customer experience are helpful and friendly staff (69 percent), fast response to questions (53 percent) and an easy-to-use web site (51 percent).”
Another key finding of the report includes a consumer demand for live chats. “Two in five (40 percent) respondents and nearly half (47 percent) of Millennials believe brands committed to meeting their CX expectations should be providing online chat facilitated by live agents for effective issue resolution without the need to move to another channel.”