Consumers now have more choice than ever before. So what makes them choose one brand over another? Customer experience is now a key differentiator helping consumers to build relationships with brands and, for businesses, it drives commercial value.
While it may be of growing importance to consumers, it seems brands are unable to meet their expectations.
That’s according to KPMG Nunwood’s annual UK Customer Experience Excellence study which found that, while British brands have upped their investment into improving customer relationships, the overall performance hit the lowest level in the report’s eight-year history.
The survey questioned 10,000 consumers on the six metrics that KPMG Nunwood believes drive brand advocacy and loyalty: personalisation, time and effort, resolution, integrity, expectations and empathy.
For the first time, shopping channel QVC came out on top, jumping up 18 places from last year’s position. This was attributed to the brand’s understanding of its customers, the psychology of its customers, and aligning every aspect of the brand to meet customer values and demands.
Other big climbers included Center Parcs (up 54 places to 12th), LV= (up 68 to 32nd) and Standard Life (up 100 places to 33rd).
If brands want to look for inspiration, the report suggests newer businesses and those across the pond should be the first port of call. The research found that British organisations were around three to five times worse at excelling at customer experience than US brands.
Speaking to Marketing Week, KPMG Nunwood’s director, David Conway, commented: “Customer expectations are rapidly rising but brands are failing to keep up, with many not making the necessary internal connections to ensure a consistent experience across all touchpoints.
“Businesses are still organised in the same way they were in Victorian times when we were building factories that churned out consistent objects. We’re now in a world where we sell concepts, content, ideas and thoughts and the traditional organisational structure really isn’t effective in being able to do that.”
Maintaining the status quo is no longer enough to sustain positive perceptions of your brand. Every business needs to proactively manage relationships with customers, and attempt to make them more personal.
Artificial intelligence is becoming a key driver in delivering responsive, relevant and personalised experiences. According to The Age of Now: Creating real-time customer engagement report from SAS, 30% of businesses are using the tech to interact with customers based on their behaviour and mood.
What’s more, over a third (36%) are using AI to create more meaningful relationships through more relevant messaging and offers being delivered at the right moment, as well as predicting how their customers will act or respond.
But AI is only half the story. You also need to be creating engaging content and providing seamless channel experiences, all tied up by a cohesive marketing strategy. And if that sounds a little overwhelming, don’t worry – Fireworx can help.