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Guest Post: Could Customer Experience Gaps be Limiting Your Profitability?

This week, we feature an article by Sage, an international company that helps organizations of all sizes with accounting, payroll, and payment solutions. It discusses customer experience gaps that hinder profitability and how to close them. Are you providing as good of a customer experience as you think you are?  Customer experience gaps refer to […]

This week, we feature an article by Sage, an international company that helps organizations of all sizes with accounting, payroll, and payment solutions. It discusses customer experience gaps that hinder profitability and how to close them.

Are you providing as good of a customer experience as you think you are? 

Customer experience gaps refer to the disconnect between what your customers expect from your brand and what your brand actually delivers.  

Even gaps that we might consider small can cause gulfs in your customer experiences. A confusing checkout process or lack of personalization can be just as hindering to your customer as long customer service wait times or unresponsive mobile websites. 

According to Salesforce, your brand’s overall experience is just as important to 88% of your customers as the product you’re selling. 

From high churn rates and missed upselling opportunities to a ruined brand reputation, failing to address customer experience gaps can have detrimental revenue consequences.  

Impact of Customer Experience Gaps on Profitability

So, let’s explore the main ways that customer experience gaps negatively impact profitability. 

Customer churn and loss of repeat business 

59% of customers will reduce or completely terminate their spending after a poor interaction. So, if your customer journey is littered with poorly-optimized touchpoints, you’re going to experience high churn rates.   

Even if a customer continues to make a purchase after a negative experience, chances are they won’t come back. If you’re really unlucky, they might even leave a negative review. 

Negative word-of-mouth and brand reputation damage 

When customers have negative experiences with your brand, they complain about you to their friends and family. They also leave negative reviews online for the world to see. This can critically damage your business’s reputation. As you can see below, prospective customers trust word-of-mouth and online reviews over any other form of information.

If your business starts gathering lots of negative reviews or has a poor star rating, potential customers are more likely to distrust and avoid your company. BrightLocal found that a huge 87% of customers will not consider a company with a rating below 3 stars. For 38% of customers, you need a 4-star rating, minimum. 

Once again, that’s a huge chunk of potential profit lost. So, aim to deliver a 5-star customer experience to everyone who interacts with your brand. 

Reduced customer lifetime value 

Beware the loyalty gap! Repeat and loyal customers have high customer lifetime values, making them your most profitable customers. But even the buyers you think are loyal customers may be tempted to switch brands if you fail to provide an exceptional experience. 

Some studies report that 73% of customers will switch brands after multiple bad experiences—and over half will switch after just one bad experience.   

A reduced average customer lifetime value can be financially crippling for your company. It’s much easier to sell to existing customers than new customers, so keeping loyal customers happy with great brand experiences is critical for your financial stability. 

Missed cross-selling and upselling opportunities 

Customers like receiving personalized recommendations—so much so that upselling and cross-selling can be accredited to a significant portion of your business’s revenue.  

Hubspot, for example, found that for almost half of the companies surveyed, upselling accounted for between 11-40% of their total revenue. 

But if there are gaps in your customer experience—such as departmental silos, knowledge gaps within sales teams, and a lack of consistent personalization—you’ll miss out on lucrative cross-selling and upselling opportunities.   

To cross-sell and upsell effectively, aim to understand your customers wants, needs, personal preferences, purchasing history, and buying behaviors.  

Strategies to address customer experience gaps 

Ready to bridge your customer experience gaps? Here are some tips to get you started. 

Implement personalization initiatives 

Your customers don’t just crave personalization anymore—they demand perfectly individualized customer experiences. According to Salesforce, 56% of customers expect offers to always be personalized, while 73% expect brands to understand their unique needs and expectations at every point in the customer journey.  

To meet demands for personalized experiences, prioritize staying in tune with your customer’s needs, pain points, and personal history with your company.  

On top of this, remember to acknowledge cultural differences between different markets and how this will affect a customer’s perception of your brand. It’s only when you combine all of these considerations that you’ll be able to provide an exceptional experience.  

To achieve this, ERP software can unify your customer data and maximize its accessibility across marketing, sales, and customer service teams. With synergistic access to real-time customer information, teams can deliver consistently personalized messaging and experiences that align with expectations for whichever market your customer is in.   

Improve product quality 

Remember that for 88% of customers, the quality of your product is just as important as your customer experience. 

A low-quality product forms a mammoth gap in the customer experience that no amount of efficient customer service or personalization can fill. So, continuously improving your product’s quality should be a top priority for growth.  

Here’s another instance where utilizing ERP in ecommerce can drive improvements. With the capability to collect and centralize volumes of data, ERP systems facilitate the in-depth analysis of valuable customer feedback.  

Ideally, what you want to be doing is eliminating silos, so customer feedback reaches all corners of your business. Software and data collection allows for this, as feedback is collected from marketing, sales, and customer service teams which can then be shared with product development to drive customer-informed product improvements. 

Streamline user interfaces  

A streamlined user interface (UI) is intuitive, consistent, and optimized to help users efficiently reach their goals. The easier it is for a user to navigate your ecommerce channels, the more likely they are to become a paying customer.  

Here are some quick tips for streamlining your UI: 

  • Simplicity: Avoid over-complicated and unnecessary design elements. 
  • Consistency: Using common elements across your website improves ease of use and familiarity. 
  • Visual hierarchy: A structured, organized website leads users down a logical path. 
  • Frictionless navigation: Intuitive navigation can be achieved by adding menus, search bars, links, etc. 
  • Responsiveness: Ensure that your website displays correctly across mobile devices. 

Increase your profits by bridging customer experience gaps 

The digital age provides so many choices for customers that there’s nothing stopping them from switching to a competitor that better meets their needs. So, prioritize identifying and bridging customer experience gaps that might be limiting your profitability.  

By understanding your customers on a deeper level and delivering individualized customer experiences, you can align improvements with their expectations and needs to create experiences that drive sales, customer loyalty, and revenue growth. 

Sage is a global software company that provides accounting, payroll, and payment solutions for businesses of all sizes.

Read Shep’s latest Forbes article: Do You Know What The VERY BEST Customer Service Is?


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