Customer experience is hard to measure with a KPI or a specific number, but it has an outsize impact on whether your customers are happy and loyal to your brand.

That's why it's so important to be mindful of trends in the space so you can quickly adapt your strategy to the latest industry insights and create a beloved customer experience.

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While the concept of customer experience is timeless, the research being conducted on it is still fairly new. Every year, new studies reveal insights into important trends that are influencing businesses across the world. To some, these statistics may feel like conversational fun facts, but in actuality, they can help your customer service team capitalize on timely opportunities to improve customer experience.

If your team is looking to stay up-to-date on the latest trends occurring in customer service, consolidating your information is a great way to start. Below, we compiled a list of customer experience statistics and trends that your company should pay attention to for 2020.

Every year research organizations like Temkin Group and Gartner release reports that provide valuable insights into consumer needs. This data helps companies identify new trends occurring in their industries as well as take advantage of timely marketing, sales, service opportunities. Here are some stats that we're paying attention to for this upcoming year.

1. Only 22% of consumers think mobile experience is good.

You may think your mobile app is the future of your company, but studies indicate that mobile experiences often are lacking in quality. According to Temkin Group, 60% of companies believed they were delivering a good mobile experience, however, only 22% of consumers felt the same.

In a world where nearly everyone carries a computer in their pocket, having a responsive mobile design is crucial to building a better customer experience. Your product owner and product manager may be excited to push out the newest edition of your product or service, but be sure that your mobile-based version can live up to the core product's reputation.

2. 76% of customers expect companies to understand their needs.

Understanding the customer's needs is a common challenge for many businesses and studies show that this will become a make-or-break benchmark for most companies. Salesforce conducted a survey of over 6,000 consumers and found that 76% of them expected companies to understand their needs and expectations. This doesn't leave very much wiggle room for your marketing and customer service strategy to fail.

If you want to deliver a sound customer experience, then it's imperative that you create a customer-centric company that is focused on fulfilling customer needs.

3. Less than 50% of executives prioritize employee feedback.

A report conducted by Temkin Group revealed that while 73% of large companies survey employees, only 45% of executives seriously consider their employee's feedback. Executives strategize for the business and make key operational decisions that guide the company. However, their day-to-day experience doesn't often confront them with many customer interactions.

Frontline employees like customer service reps engage with the customer on a daily basis, making them valuable resources when researching the customer's journey. They're constantly engaging with new customers and gather customer reviews in everyday workflow. Executives and upper management should be craving their feedback when looking for new ways to improve the customer experience.

4. More than 80% of companies who prioritize customer experience are reporting an increase in revenue.

When customers discover a delightful customer experience, it's likely that they'll want to return to it again. Dimension Data even found that 84% of companies who focus on improving customer experience are reporting an increase in annual revenue.

This is because these companies are gaining more customer loyalty which is highly valuable to the brand. Loyal customers make repeat purchases and offer recommendations to other potential leads who then become ambassadors as well. If you're looking for new ways to increase your company's profit margins, invest in bettering your customer experience.

5. More than half of all customer service reps do not plan on staying in their role.

Building an awesome customer service team is a challenge all its own, but keeping it together is another story altogether. Customer service is a unique career path and it's quite common for people to transition in and out of service roles quickly. In fact, HubSpot Research found that 58% of customer service reps plan on leaving their current role in customer service.

With the increased focus on building a positive customer experience, it's imperative that you maintain the high-quality personnel on your customer service and customer support teams. These employees have a difficult job and won't be afraid to look elsewhere if they feel they aren't valued.

6. $1.6 trillion is lost each year due to poor customer service.

While we often talk about how customer retention is more cost-effective than customer acquisition, this stat provides a wider scope of how important customer service is to your business. Every year, American businesses lose trillions due to poor customer service. So, while you may think that one angry customer doesn't make too much of a difference, this research shows how as churn rates rise, you miss out on opportunities to secure recurring revenue. 

7. Customers will spend 17% more for a good experience.

Have you ever been loyal to a brand that sells products that are more expensive than its competitors? If so, then you're probably hooked on the customer experience and are willing to pay more for a brand that you trust. Rather than switching to a competitor, you know that this company's products and services are perfect for your specific needs. 

And, you're not alone, either. Research shows that customers are willing to pay more for an experience that they know will be good. Once you build rapport and earn their trust, it becomes difficult for a competitor to win them over. They either need to match your company's offer or hope you provide a negative experience that drives customers away. 

8. Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that aren't.

Customer-centric companies are more profitable because they can leverage customer service as both an acquisition and retention tool. For example, if your company has good online reviews, you can promote them as a way to attract more leads. As the graph below shows, 60% of customers trust reviews from friends, family, and fellow customers when learning about a new product or service. 

Image Source

In terms of customer retention, reviews can be used to keep customers loyal as well. If you have a negative service experience, you can send the customer a satisfaction survey to see where exactly things went wrong. Once you collect feedback, your team can then reach back out to the customer and provide the solution they were hoping for. This gives your team another chance to resolve the situation and prevent potential churn.  

The statistics above indicate some larger patterns that are emerging this year in the customer experience field. These trends present timely opportunities for companies to capitalize on the most pressing customer needs. Here are a few customer experience trends that we're monitoring for 2019.

1. Premium Apps for Brand Enthusiasts

Companies are always interested in increasing customer lifetime value; however, this can often be difficult to achieve with the most loyal customers. These customers are highly valuable to the business, but finding new, cost-effective ways to improve their customer experience is challenging. How do you enhance the customer experience for users that are already maxed out on your companies perks?

Larger companies like Nike and Adidas have decided to handle this problem by creating premium apps that are used by the brand's superfans. These apps are specific to a segment of the company's target audience and aimed at improving the customer experience for a certain group of users.

For example, Adidas is a sporting goods company that primarily profits from their soccer apparel and equipment. Their new Tango app creates an Adidas soccer community where brand enthusiasts can post and create soccer challenges for other users on the app. While the app may only appeal to a segment of Adidas' larger target audience, the company knows that these users have the highest likelihood to convert. Appealing to them will not only result in repeat purchases but will also result in potential leads becoming more familiar and interested in the Adidas brand.

2. An Adaptive Approach to Customer Experience

The secret is out — every company knows how important their customer experience is for differentiating themselves from their competitors. And with this new focus on the customer's journey, traditional brands will have to become more adaptive in their approach to customer service. They'll need to be open to trying new marketing and sales strategies that better align with their customer's success.

According to Gartner, 66% of CEO's expect their business model to change within the next three years. Take the historic guitar brand, Fender, for example. Fender studied their target audience and realized their users were abandoning their instruments about a year after purchasing. The company then decided to roll out a subscription-based service that teaches users how to play the guitar through daily, seven-minute videos. Sensor Tower now reports the app has gained over 100K users and has grossed over $400K in revenue.

Pushing change may be difficult for some companies rooted in their traditional approach, but it's important to keep an open mind and consider unique ways to delight the customer.

3. Digitalizing the Customer Experience

You would think in our tech-driven age that companies would have perfected the digital customer experience by now. Unfortunately, a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review revealed that 72% of corporate strategists admitted their digital efforts were falling short of revenue expectations. Additionally, 62% of respondents said their company is working on new initiatives that will make their business more digital.

At this point, there's not much that's preventing these companies from making their customer experience more digital. Customer service software is widely available and there's plenty of resources that help businesses implement a technology-driven approach. Some companies may be hesitant to invest in a concept that's new to them, but they'll quickly realize that their falling behind competitors. If you're looking to add some new software to your company's customer service team, take a look at what we're predicting for customer service technology in 2019.

4. Virtual Assistants

For growing companies, one of the biggest challenges facing their customer service teams is handling the increase in customer support calls and emails. It can be difficult for these teams to expand their bandwidth without hiring additional employees to operate their support channels. Virtual assistant software eases that pressure by enabling in-app interactive support for struggling users. While these assistants can't replace the job of a human rep, they can answer quick and simple questions that save time for both the customer and the company.

Gartner predicts that 25% of customer service operations will integrate virtual customer assistants or chatbot technology. To compare, in 2017 less than 2% of companies reported using this type of software in their customer experience. That significant spike in predicted usage suggests that this technology can be instrumental in helping customer service and support teams achieve their daily goals.

5. Increase in Loyalty Program Engagement

According to Temkin Group, loyal customers are five times more likely to purchase from the same company again, and they're four times more likely to refer another customer. Since these customers create the best opportunity for conversions, companies will place a heavy focus on maximizing revenue from these customer segments.

One way to do that is to enroll them in paid loyalty programs that reward the customer based on their buying habits or customer referrals. In fact, a LoyaltyOne survey reports that 62% of respondents would consider joining a loyalty program if their favorite brand offered one.

A great example of this rewards program strategy is Amazon Prime's membership offer. For $119 a year, users gain access to premium features like free shipping or streaming benefits. A survey conducted by Jaffray found that 82% of households with income surpassing $110K are Amazon Prime members.

The study also found that these members spent 250% more than the average Amazon user. While Amazon is a distribution giant, their Prime member offer is an excellent model for optimizing the revenue value of your loyal customers.

6. Augmented Reality Customer Service

New technology can open the door for innovative business opportunities. Augment reality, or AR, provides a different way to enhance customer experience by overlaying digital elements on top of the customer's physical world. This can help the customer visualize how they would use a product without committing to a purchase.

For example, IKEA is using AR to help customers envision how a piece of furniture will look inside their homes. Customers look through an online catalog, select an item they want to preview, then use their smart device camera to display the product in their home.

The video below shows how this service works.

With AR, customers can shop confidently knowing they won't experience buyer's remorse once they leave the store. This will make it easier to purchase expensive products or products that require a lot of thought during the buying decision. And, this will reduce return rates since customers are more likely to be happy with their purchase.

7. More Focus on Mobile Experience

Earlier in this post, we talked about how businesses are falling short when it comes to mobile experiences. While it may not have been a priority in the past, mobile will soon be at the top of your list as customers are focusing more on these interactions this year. 

In fact, research shows that 52% of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices while desktop traffic has been declining over the past few years. And, 50% of customers will stop visiting your website if they think it's not mobile-friendly. So, as customers continue to operate more in a mobile landscape, businesses will need to invest in this medium to keep pace with customer demand. 

8. Behavioral Pairing Call Centers

Behavioral pairing is a new customer service technology that adds sentiment analysis features to your call center. Instead of customers being paired with a random rep, behavioral pairing looks at the customer's history with your brand and assigns a service rep who's best suited to resolve their case. That way, customers with different needs, goals, and expectations are met with a delightful service experience. 

To learn more, read about how design thinking can improve customer experience.

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Originally published Feb 25, 2020 2:29:00 PM, updated February 25 2020

Topics:

Customer Experience