Customer Experience is Alive and Kicking During the Recession


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For many executives the current economic times provided with an excuse to reduce all value to customers to the bare minimum. “Customer care about price and only price” executives will state convincingly. This false conviction lead to commoditization f their products and services in the name of cost reductions and adapting too customer needs.
Our recent study of 1,994 consumers in US and Canada provide and evidence of how mistaken and risky this common conviction is.

Customers continue to reward exceptional customer experience even in tough economic times, the Strativity’s 1,994 consumers 2009 Customer Experience Consumer Study reveals. Premium price, longer relationships and willingness to purchase more are among the ways customers reciprocate for exceptional experience. At a time when companies are considering cutting their investments in customer experience and customer service, corporate executives need to balance any potential savings in costs by the loss in revenue due to inferior experiences. Companies that deliver exceptional customer experiences are rewarded with customers who buy more, attrite less and are willing to pay higher prices. The study demonstrates a clear demand by consumers to receive exceptional customer experience. This demand comes with the promise for more profitable business. This demand however is not optional. Customers participating in the study indicated that they penalize companies that fail to deliver the desired experiences either by demanding discounted prices, or by terminating their relationship altogether.

The Business Case for Exceptional Customer Experience

To determine the impact of delivering exceptional customer experiences, consumers were asked to answer the Net Promoter question for the company with whom they most recently did business. The Net Promoter question, popularized by Fred Reicheld in his book, The Ultimate Question, asks customers to rate the likelihood that they would recommend a company to a friend or colleague. The question was used both because of its popularity and because it highlights and distinguishes between loyal customers (promoters), indifferent customers (neutrals) and disloyal customers (detractors). Strativity Group then asked the consumers about their purchasing behavior, the results were rather surpising especially when considering these economic times.

  • Share of Wallet: More than 70% of consumers surveyed indicate that they are willing to spend 10% or more with businesses if those businesses exceed their expectations.
  • Customer Retention: Loyal customers are almost three times as likely to expect to continue doing business with companies for another ten years or more than dissatisfied customers. Dissatisfied customers are ten times more likely to expect to attrite in the next twelve months than their loyal counterparts.
  • Premium Pricing: 40% of loyal customers said that they are willing to pay 10% or more to continue purchasing from companies delivering great experiences, in contrast with 9% of dissatisfied customers.
  • 52% of dissatisfied customers expect discounts of 5% or more to continue doing business with a company while no loyal customers expect discounts.

The consumers participating in the study delivered a clear verdict which was exceptional customer experience equal more profitable business. Any company that chooses the opposite direction take a risk in the form of lower margins and shorter relationships with customers.

The common perception that a difficult economic time provides a permission to reduce value and de-emphasize the customer experience is a rather false. Customers are probably more attune too their customer experience today than ever before. They know it is tough out there (it is tough on them as well). Knowing that, they pay close attention to their relationships with vendors. They examine which vendor is playing a long term relationship and which vendor is rushing to the quick cost reduction.

It is those vendors who play the long term relationship card that will be rewarded with long term relationship. The behavior and customer treatment during these testing times will most likely leave a long term signature on your relationship with your customers. They will not forget too quickly how you behaved at the moment of truth.

For full report of the 2009 Customer Experience Consumer Study visit

Lior Arussy
One of the world’s authorities on customer experience, customer centricity, and transformation, Lior Arussy delivers results. His strategic framework converts organizations from product- to customer-centricity. It is drawn from his work with some of the world’s leading brands: Mercedes-Benz, Royal Caribbean, Delta Air Lines, MasterCard, Novo Nordisk, Walmart and more.Arussy is also the author of seven books, including Next Is Now (May 2018)


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