Customer experience: a Voice Of the Customer wake-up call

The business impact of customer experience failure - source SDL slideshare - see below
The business impact of customer experience failure – source SDL slideshare – see below

SDL, touting itself as the leader in global customer experience solutions for quite some time now, feels it’s time for a global customer experience (CX) wakeup call. In its latest research, appropriately called “The Global CX Wakeup Call“, the company asked almost 3,000 people about their biggest customer experience success of failure in the last decade.

While we don’t recall anything that’s longer than five years and, as customers, don’t think in terms of experiences but of emotions it’s most certainly worth a look to see where the biggest points of CX failure and CX success happen according to the research and what’s the impact on the business and the bottom-line.

The report, among others promoted with the infographic and SlideShare summary below, states that 76% of the exactly 2,784 surveyed consumers experienced their worst CX failure in the last two years and 55% of the consumers who recalled a CX failure also remembered a success. In that sense the infographic could lead a bit to confusion as it appears to be saying 55% of respondents couldn’t remember a single success overall.

It also doesn’t help that AdWeek’s SocialTimes where we first read about the report and infographic seems to confuse customer service with customer experience in the article and used the – admittedly strong – headline “55% of Customers Can’t Remember Having a Successful Experience” for the article. But the research itself and the SlideShare summary provide more context and it’s true that in the infographic customer service takes an important place as you’ll read below.

Customer experience top failures: customer service and processes

Back to the survey and infographic. The fact that we tend to remember “CX failures” better than “CX successes” needs some further explanation and context as the emotions regarding bad experiences are quite different from those regarding good experiences. Furthermore (we didn’t participate in the survey), asking people about customer experience failures and success is quite dangerous as we can imagine they confuse customer experience with customer service.

However, according to the SDL survey and report the most cited reasons for “consumer’s worst CX failure” relate to service and to processes. So, as said customer service is an important part of the research and infographic.

The top failures (service and process related) are:

  • Poor response times (35%).
  • The employee wasn’t empowered to help (31%).
  • The employee was poorly trained (30%).
  • The information provided was inaccurate or conflicting (29%).

What do customers really, really want? Saying sorry isn’t enough but it matters

It’s interesting to see over 50% of respondents expect 1) an apology, 2) an admission of failure or 3) money back on this purchase.

Of course saying sorry isn’t enough as you can read in our interview with Nicola Millard. But there’s nothing more frustrating than at least acknowledging mistakes and apologizing.

What’s also noteworthy – and can’t be emphasized enough – is that no stage of the journey (pre-purchase, post-sale etc.) is immune to customer experience failure. So, optimizing everywhere – obviously – is important.

The impact of customer experience failures on your business? More in the infographic below and in the SDL report.

Voice of the Customer - time for a global CX wake-up call says SDL
Voice of the Customer – time for a global CX wake-up call says SDL