What’s the Biggest Threat to Your Brand? You May be Surprised.

Is your most direct competitor also the biggest threat to your brand?

In this digital age, the organizations you’re competing against for market share aren’t necessarily your biggest rivals.

That’s because you’re competing against every GREAT customer experience (CX) your target customers and prospects have ever had. This means, you’re now competing against companies that aren’t even in your space. The rules of the game have changed dramatically. Price, quality, reach and loyalty no longer have the impact they once did on consumers. Instead, customers now value convenience, speed, ease of use, consistency, personalization and relevance—all those things that contribute to a great CX.

Customers now navigate effortlessly between channels and devices for many of their needs—financial services, retail, groceries, entertainment and much more. So they know what a great CX is, and they want that same level of experience from every brand. They no longer distinguish CX by industry, channel, or device, and they don’t see a difference between online and in store experiences.

Customers expect their experience with your brand to be seamless and consistent, whether they’re interacting with you via your app, your website, in store, over the phone with customer service, or through social media.

Companies that have mastered CX make it easy to do business with them—for customers to find what they need, ask questions, make purchases and returns. They remember who the customer is, their preferences and purchase history. And these brands interact with the customer in personalized, relevant ways that that make them feel remembered and special.

Whether it’s fair or not, you are now competing against the BEST experience a customer has ever had.

Is loyalty dead? Not if you can deliver a great CX.

What happens if you don’t give customers the great experience they want and expect? Statistics show that even loyal customers will quickly abandon your brand. A PwC study found that 1 in 3 consumers (32%) will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience.

The downfall of giants like Toys R Us, Radio Shack, and Blockbuster are examples of major companies that didn’t get it right, and we’ll undoubtedly see more fall in the near future. A Gartner report predicts that 75% of the top 100 global consumer brands will lose 20% of their brand equity value to declining brand perception and loyalty by 2020.

And while losing a customer is terrible for your brand, the fallout from a bad CX can get far worse. Customers now have the power to influence thousands, even millions of consumers, and do real and lasting damage to your brand. One negative—or even so-so—brand experience, be it with your website, customer service or app, has the power to affect your brand’s sales, reputation and revenue.

Customer reviews and opinions are now just as important and influential, if not more so, than professional reviews, price or market share. Nearly 95% of shoppers now read online reviews before making a purchase. A Harvard University study about the effect of Yelp reviews on restaurants found that for each additional star a restaurant received on Yelp, it saw an increase in revenue up to 9%. For restaurants earning $1 million a year, the difference between three stars and five stars could be $180,000 in lost annual sales.

Delivering a great CX is the new competitive edge

Accenture found that two-thirds of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a retailer that sends them relevant and personalized promotions, and remembers their previous purchases. The good news, is that while the digital era has raised customer expectations, it has also given companies the technology to deliver exceptional experiences that are relevant, convenient, consistent and deliver long-term value.

There are plenty of examples of organizations that have mastered the CX. What’s the key to their success? Putting the customer at the center of everything they do. Making sure there isn’t a single breakdown at any point in the customer journey.

This is a state every brand can achieve with the right strategy and technology. And the data shows that your effort and investment will pay off. A recent Forrester report found that on average, customer experience leaders realize a 25% increase in revenue over customer experience laggards. Delivering a great CX is a huge competitive advantage.

You can deliver a great CX to compete and win

It’s absolutely possible to create great customer experiences that are on par with industry leaders. You can keep your customers engaged and satisfied long term. But you do need to act: results of a recent Gartner survey found that by 2020, 81% of marketing leaders say they expect to be competing mostly or completely on the basis of CX.

Learn more about how you can optimize the customer experience across the entire buyer’s journey with the right strategy and technology. Read our new eBook: “Are You Prepared for the New Experience Battlefront? Reverse Engineering the CX to Outmaneuver Competitors and Delight Customers.”

About the Author

The Aprimo Mobilizer represents a collection of experts at Aprimo who have specialities across every industry we serve. From in-depth analysis to groundbreaking ideas, articles published under Aprimo Mobilizer demonstrate some of Aprimo’s brightest minds addressing complex marketing challenges.

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