The customer experience can determine whether a customer buys from the same company again. It is therefore crucial for companies to anticipate customer needs, react flexibly to customer requests and be able to adapt quickly – even under difficult market conditions, such as the current COVID pandemic. In Germany, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular have recognized how valuable it is to adapt to the needs of their customers.
Around two thirds (65 percent) of SME executives see the customer experience (CX) as a sales driver. Only one in five sees it as a cost center that needs to be reduced. This is the result of the current “Agility in action” survey by Zendesk, a provider of CRM and customer service software. Large corporations and larger medium-sized companies, on the other hand, are still divided when it comes to the profitability of a good customer experience. 30 or 41 percent of the executives surveyed perceive the customer experience as a cost driver, while over half see it as an investment area that needs to be expanded.
Customer service priorities depending on company size
In order to meet customer needs and to be prepared for everything in a constantly changing environment, according to the study, local SMEs primarily focus on the following three operational focuses for their customer service: Additional contact channels (24 percent), easily adaptable CX technology (22 percent ) as well as the switch to more modern channels such as chat or messaging (21 percent). Surprisingly, large companies plan less investment in new technology overall than their smaller competitors.
For large companies, flexibly adaptable CX technology is the most important investment area with 14 percent, followed by the further automation of business processes (12 percent) and in third place the switch to more modern channels (11 percent). However, large companies are already somewhat better positioned than small and medium-sized companies when it comes to the variety of channels: every third large German company currently offers customers three or more channels for making contact. However, this only applies to 15 percent of SMEs.
Customer experience is critical to brand loyalty
However, it is not just the variety of channels that is decisive for a positive customer experience, but also the overall strategy of a company. The CX can be decisive for success or failure, as a further survey by Zendesk published at the beginning of the year on the importance of the customer experience among customers shows. According to the Zendesk CX Trends Report 2021, more than half (54 percent) of customers turn their backs on a company after just one bad experience. If the CX is negative more than once, more than three out of four people (76 percent) would switch to a different brand.
Customer experience a decisive factor for brand loyalty
“In addition to price and product quality, the customer experience has become a decisive factor in whether a customer buys from a brand again and remains loyal to it or turns away from it,” explains Ulrich Hoffmann, Director EMEA Central at Zendesk. “Small and medium-sized businesses understand that good customer support can set them apart from their competitors by viewing customer service as an asset rather than an additional cost center. This is exactly how all companies should view the customer experience. After all, no company can still afford a bad customer experience these days. ”
About the methodology of the study: For the study “Agility in Action“Surveyed Zendesk 3,900 customers and 3,900 customer service and CX executives, managers and employees. In addition, data on the most important agility characteristics of more than 90,000 companies in 175 countries that use Zendesk were analyzed. Founded in 2007 Zendesk started the customer experience revolution by enabling companies worldwide to offer good customer service online. The company supports billions of conversations worldwide by connecting over 100,000 brands with hundreds of million customers via phone, chat, email, messaging, social media, communities, review sites and help centers. (sg)
Also read: Customer experience: retailers are investing in new sales channels in 2021