As brands re-enter the post-pandemic world, many still struggle with how they can gain a competitive advantage over their competition with all the reported changes in consumer behavior. Global Technology company NTT Ltd. conducted its 20th annual study in the latter half of 2019 and polled more than a thousand global executives representing 13 industries.

NTT’s latest results confirmed among respondents that customer experience or CX is what sets one company apart over another and is the primary indicator of strategic performance. Nearly 82% of those surveyed agreed. However, just only 12% admitted that their customers rated the brand’s CX at a good promotional level.

Consistency in interactions tops the list of what consumers expect from brands. Here are some tips on a successful strategy.

Tips

A major finding of the study revealed that the top quartile of successful respondents shared these commonalities. They defined the value of CX to them and understood why it’s a major part of their strategy and what it brings to the company’s goals.

The difference between them and those not yet engaged was significant. The successful brands scored over 28% in promoter level results versus 9.5% of those not yet into CX.
CX solutions that surpass every customer touchpoint are significant to elevating customer satisfaction.

One key element is speed in responding to consumer queries. When comparing successful CX companies with those working in silos, NTT discovered significant differences in the following venues: nearly 42% better on the phone, more than 34% better on email, 10.2% better on web chat and almost 34% better on social media.

If it’s not yet used, consider investing in a proactive CX program. Not only will it anticipate what a customer wants to know, but it will deliver meaningful content at the appropriate time. Understanding why consumers initially contacted the brand gives marketers information to tailor design content that will deliver valuable and timely content.
Instituting a program on how a brand listens to its customers is also important.

By launching a formal voice of the customer (VoC) program, the successful brands saw a nearly 65% improvement in customer loyalty compared to 51% for those who didn’t. More importantly, the difference in improved revenue/profits was 50%, versus 36%. Reducing costs saw a difference of 38.4%, as opposed to 29.6%.

Brands currently employing CX would do well to reassess how they’re currently doing. Only 10% of those surveyed told NTT they were very satisfied with their CX capability. Of those polled, 63% said they were fairly satisfied, while 24% were fairly dissatisfied, and 2.9% reported being very dissatisfied.

A self-check is particularly important because NTT’s study revealed 52% of consumers at what they called a “distractor” level or not satisfied with their customer experience. This number usually indicates not just a poor CX strategy but also the inability of a brand to assimilate services for its customers.

Conclusion

As consumers adjust to what observers are calling the new normal, CX will be more important than before the pandemic. More consumers are online browsing and shopping and will continue to do so.

Brands trying to decide on concentrating and investing in CX should consider the top business outcome findings by NTT. Customer engagement improved 29.5% at companies with a good CX strategy. Brand value and customers differentiating the brand from its competition increased 17.4%. And the always important yardstick of commercial performance improved 15.7%.

The important areas of customer trust and loyalty improved 13.2% and 11.8% respectively, while another 10% reported that it helped draw in new customers.

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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.