Research released today from Oracle has revealed that customer experience is now a key driver for revenue growth in Europe, and an effective channel for brand differentiation in a globalized economy where products and services are increasingly commoditized.
The research report, "Why Customer Satisfaction is No Longer Good Enough," reveals that 81% of consumers surveyed are willing to pay more for superior customer experience. With nearly half (44%) willing to pay a premium of more than 5%.
Improvement of the overall customer experience (40%), providing quick access to information and making it easier for customers to ask questions (35%) were cited as key drivers for spending more with a brand.
The pan-European research, carried out in June 2012 by independent research company Loudhouse, surveyed 1400 online shoppers (50% female, 50% male) who had made a complaint or enquiry to a customer service department in the last 12 months.
Benefitting from churn: In addition to driving new revenue growth, a good customer experience is also essential to protecting existing revenue channels. Seventy percent of respondents have stopped doing business with a brand following a poor customer experience. Importantly, 92% of this number have gone straight to a competing brand and made a purchase. With fewer than a quarter of consumers (22%) nearly always satisfied with their customer experience, there is a clear opportunity for brands to improve customer service to win market share from competitors.
Drivers for revenue growth: The survey has indicated steps businesses can take to benefit from the opportunities provided by a positive customer experience. Respondents said that the top five changes to customer experience that would lead to them spending more money with that company are:
40% - Improvement in the overall customer experience
35% - Ensuring questions can be asked easily and information accessed before making a purchase
32% - Adopting an easy return policy
26% - Improving the overall website usability and search functionality
20% - Providing customers with a more tailored/personalized shopping experience
Brand loyalty: Eighty-two percent of respondents describe their experiences as requiring too much effort, suggesting that brand loyalty is closely linked to ease of communication. Respondents listed having to use different methods of contact to resolve an issue (26%) and using different methods several times (24%) as the point 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.
Social media: The research also revealed that many organizations 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. The research indicates that 29% of these became angry when the response failed to resolve their issue.
Danny Rippon, CRM Business Solutions Director, Oracle, said: "Our report has made one thing absolutely clear: getting customer experience right can help increase revenue and win customers away from competing organizations. By creating a consistent and connected experience across all points of customer contact — including the increasingly important social channel — businesses can clearly differentiate themselves and build priceless brand capital. As an absolute fundamental, businesses must ensure that their customer experience systems can support fulfillment and service to the extent demanded by consumers, while at all times making it as simple as possible for them to interact with the brand. This is the key both to winning new customers and retaining them for the long-haul."
The survey focused on 1400 online shoppers (50% female, 50% male) who had made a complaint or enquiry to a customer services department in the last 12 months. The survey was conducted by market research company Loudhouse in the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain during June 2012.
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