Four in five will pay more for a better experience

Customer Experience is now a key driver of revenue growth in Europe, providing an effective medium for brand differentiation in a globalised economy where products and services are increasingly commoditised, according to a study by Oracle.

The research report, entitled 'Why Customer Satisfaction is No Longer Good Enough', revealed that 81% of consumers are willing to pay more for a superior customer experience, with nearly half (44%) saying they are willing to pay a premium of more than 5%.

Key drivers cited by consumers for spending more with a brand included:

  1. Improvement of the overall customer experience (40%);
  2. Quick access to information (35%);
  3. Making it easier to ask questions (35%).

But, in addition to driving new revenue growth, a good customer experience was also found to be essential to protecting existing revenue channels, with 70% of survey respondents saying they had stopped doing business with a brand following a poor customer experience. More worryingly, 92% of those had gone straight to a competing brand and made a purchase.

With fewer than one quarter of consumers (22%) being "nearly always satisfied" with their customer experience, there is a clear opportunity for brands to improve customer service to win market share from competitors.

The survey also identified five simple steps that businesses can take to benefit from the opportunities provided by a more positive customer experience. Consumers said that the top five changes to customer experience that would lead to them spending more money with a company are:

  1. Improvement in the overall customer experience (40%);
  2. Ensuring questions can be asked easily and information accessed before making a purchase (35%);
  3. Adopting an easy return policy (32%);
  4. Improving the overall website usability and search functionality (26%);
  5. Providing customers with a more tailored/personalised shopping experience (20%).

Consumers are generally unhappy with the amount of work involved in most customer experiences, with 82% describing their experiences as "requiring too much effort", suggesting that brand loyalty may be closely linked to ease of communication. Respondents cited "having to use different methods of contact to resolve an issue" (26%) and "using different methods several times" (24%) as the main points at which dealing with customer service requires too much effort. Businesses wishing to benefit from the revenue implications of providing a good customer experience therefore need to focus on making their customer interactions as simple as possible, the report concluded.

The study also found that many organisations are failing to make the most of the customer experience opportunities available to them through social media channels, with only 46% of respondents claiming to have received a reply from a company after posting a comment. Interestingly, 29% of these "became angry" when the response failed to resolve their issue.

According to Danny Rippon, CRM business solutions director for Oracle, "Getting the customer experience right can help increase revenue and win customers from competitors. By creating a consistent and connected experience across all points of customer contact, businesses can differentiate themselves and build priceless brand capital."