More than 70 per cent of organisations still fail to grasp the crucial difference between customer experience and customer service – and may be losing sales as a result, members of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum were told.
Kate Cooper-Fay, CEO of Newcastle-based customer experience management consultants CXY, said there is widespread confusion over the two terms which may be holding businesses back.
This is underlined by figures that reveal companies lose more than £58 billion annually due to delivering a poor customer experience, while 51 per cent of customers will never engage again after just one negative experience, she added.
The exchange event, held at the Emirates Riverside, Chester-le-Street, heard that while customer service is simply providing help or advice to a customer buying or using a product or service, customer experience relates to their entire relationship with the business.
Positive customer experience (CX) generates additional revenue as well as free brand advertising – in the form of valuable customer recommendations.
Kate added: “With 86 per cent of buyers saying they will pay more for a better customer experience; it astounds me how many companies still don’t have a CX strategy in place.
“A customer’s perception of how your company treats them and makes them feel is what shapes their behaviours and memories, and this drives loyalty. If they feel emotionally connected, they will continue to do business with you and recommend you to others.
“You can provide an excellent product or service but that will be in vain if a customer has a poor experience. Key to ensuring a positive experience is understanding your customer, communicating and making that interaction easy.”
Jonathan Lamb, chief executive of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, said the event gave those attending a valuable insight into the importance of customer experience in scaling up a business.
He said: “This is a great example of the Forum’s exchange events, providing entrepreneurs with an opportunity to hear experts in the business world discuss the latest trends and ideas that they are able to apply to their own enterprises.”