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Customer Experience in the Cloud
CloudCherry | Featured | April 8, 2016
Consumers have a voice and a choice, and companies that don’t offer great experiences will fail, but managing the customer experience can be difficult without an effective CEM system, which for many businesses has too high a cost entry barrier. The emergence of cloud-based CEM systems, though, has changed all that.
Statistics show that 8 out of 10 businesses fail to make it big, which is a pretty high failure rate, though it’s nothing new. However, what has changed significantly, at least from a few decades ago, is one of the standout reasons for this high failure rate: the inability to deliver a good customer experience.
A lot of companies forget that it’s no longer enough to simply offer a great product or service. In today’s economy, customers will only buy a product/service if they are certain that they’ll have an amazing customer experience to go along with it. A company that doesn’t invest in customer experience management will soon find its revenue dropping and if it continues to be ignorant of the situation, things will only get worse.
A company that doesn’t invest in CEM will lose money and end up failing, unless it remedies the situation.
The Web 2.0 revolution, or the moment the internet became a two-way street rather than just another information delivery system for companies, consumers felt empowered to share their opinions online. This has led to the consumer being placed front and center by more and more companies, because consumers have much more choice in terms of whom they do business with. They are no longer limited to local companies and they can determine whom to buy from based on peer reviews because the information they have access to is no longer as controlled as it once was.
Before, consumers could only really learn about a company through their marketing materials, which rarely offered them an accurate picture of the reality of doing business with said company. Nowadays, consumers have access to a lot more information, including peer reviews. And since people are ten times more likely to go online and post a review if they’ve had a negative experience, ensuring your customers have a great experience is absolutely essential.
Information is power and nowhere is this more true than in the case of the consumer, who has morphed from a passive customer into one with high expectations and a complete lack of loyalty.
You have to remember that consumers have been empowered by the information they have access to and by all the choices they have at their fingertips. They expect their interactions with businesses to be rich and rewarding, and the companies that are unable to deliver such experiences will fail.
So, consumers have become highly demanding as well as fickle. A Harris Interactive survey from 2011 found that a mere 1% of US consumers felt their expectations, in terms of customer service, were being met and that 89% of customers switched to other companies precisely because of a poor experience. Interestingly enough, in the same survey, 86% of customers said they were willing to pay more to obtain the great experience they were looking for.
While consumers will switch from one brand to another if their expectations aren’t being met, most are willing to pay more to receive the delightful experience they crave in their interactions with a company they are doing business with.
In other words, consumers are actually willing to pay you more if you offer them a great experience, which means your bottom line will benefit substantially, i.e. you will have higher customer retention rates, which means a higher customer lifetime value, but you’ll also be able to charge more because consumers will be willing to pay a premium for a great experience.
On the flip side is the cost of not offering a great experience. According to a survey of business executives from all over the world, companies can lose as much as 20% of their revenue if they aren’t providing a consistent and positive customer experience. Of course, if you’re consistently delivering a poor experience, then it’s likely your loss will be much higher and will grow exponentially if the situation persists.
Many companies are fully aware of the fact that they need to develop policies geared towards creating great customer experiences, but they cite implementation as the problem. Coming up with a policy is easy, but finding the resources to optimize every customer touchpoint to provide a great experience is a lot more difficult. The problem is that it really doesn’t matter what issues you have – if you don’t offer a delightful customer experience, you might as well give up now.
Developing a customer experience policy is simple, but the implementation part is difficult for many businesses due to the lack of resources.
One of the most effective ways to manage the customer experience is through automation. If businesses are willing to automate their CX processes, they can cut down on the amount of resources, But for many brands, even automating is a little more than they can handle from a resource standpoint.
CEM systems can be expensive, though. An out-of-the-box option is still pretty expensive, while custom systems are often beyond the budget of small to mid-sized companies. There’s also the fact that companies will need to keep upgrading the system to keep up with the growth of the company. The problem is that it can get to the point where a company desperately needs to upgrade their CEM solution, but can’t afford it, which can lead to a deterioration in customer experience. And once things reach this point, it can be very difficult to salvage the situation.
Automation is essential to effective customer experience management, but most systems are far beyond the affordability of many businesses, but thanks to the emergence of cloud-based SaaS CEM systems, things have changed significantly.
Thanks to the cloud, though, things have changed significantly. The emergence of cloud-based CEM systems has led to a significant reduction in the costs associated with the integration of a CEM system. A cloud-based CEM system is subscription based, meaning that a business can sign up for a plan and pay for the resources they need. They can scale this up as they expand.
The advantage is that a subscription is a fraction of the cost of purchasing a CEM system outright. Furthermore, the provider has the obligation to keep the system updated, so there are no upgrade costs. Data is also more secure, as a provider will have plenty of backup solutions to ensure the integrity of their customer’s data. This means that you don’t have to invest in backup solutions either, which is another area where you will save money, while having access to the latest CEM system, as well as easily being able to scale up your needs without it costing an arm and a leg.
Cloud-based CEM systems are affordable for all businesses, irrespective of scale, enabling you to access the tools you need for your business to thrive in creating a great customer experience at a fraction of the cost of the investment in a legacy CEM system.
While a CEM system is essential for any company that wants to offer outstanding customer experiences throughout their customers’ entire journey with their business, for many it has been practically impossible because of the high entry barrier in terms of cost. Thanks to the emergence of cloud-based CEMs, this is no longer an issue and any company can now automate one of the most vital aspects of building a successful business, i.e. customer experience management.