And What You Can Do About It
You’ve probably heard about or had a bad experience with a company lately. People are increasingly frustrated with companies, and the folks on the front lines bear the brunt of this dissatisfaction.
According to the Salesforce State of Marketing report, 84% of people say the customer experience is just as important as the product or service provided. And 33% of customers will walk away from a brand they love, while 76% have switched to a competitor after just one bad experience.
Meanwhile, PWC found that 65% of US customers see a positive experience as more influential than great advertising. Still, more than half of consumers feel brands fail to meet their experience standards.
So why are so many people dissatisfied with their experiences?
1. Huge Changes in Front-line Teams
Front-line jobs are where many people begin a new career. So, when opportunities were abundant, many opted for something new. That’s why the Great Resignation hit support teams, CX teams, and service workers the hardest.
Many front-line workers, especially those laid off during the pandemic, also found new work that pays better and often allows them to work from home. The shortage of people who are willing to work on the front lines means longer wait times for customers who are losing patience.
This results in lower customer satisfaction, poorer customer experiences, and decreased general happiness.
2. Customers Are Struggling With Changes
A 2021 Gallup poll found that people around the world are sadder, more worried, and more stressed out than during the pandemic. This year, The Gallup Positive Experience Index dropped for the first time since 2017.
This drop in positive experiences often leads to people being less optimistic; they become more protective and guarded of their time and money. Most people do not respond well to changes in plans or routines, and longer wait times change both.
Since there are little to no social ramifications of unloading on a service person, many people vent every frustration on the poor soul trying to help them. According to the BBC, the Institute of Customer Service says that more than half of all customer-facing employees have reported increases in abuse since 2020.
3. Skimpflation and Shrinkflation Make Inflation Untrustworthy
Skimpflation and shrinkflation are two relatively unaccounted-for forms of inflation. Even though the price hasn’t increased, consumers get less for their money. Shrinkflation is where a company offers less for the same price to keep profits higher. Its cousin, Skimpflation (according to NPR), deals with the phenomenon of skimping on the goods and services provided.
Both lead to a breach of trust. Even in good times, people tend to distrust large corporations, and when those companies act in ways that make people question the value or honesty of the product or service, trust and sales evaporate.
4. Reduced Capacity Equals Increased Discomfort
Right now, everybody wants to travel, so airports are crowded, flights are packed, and those flights that are not packed are canceled and grounded. You can also feel it at the local coffee shop and restaurants.
The same is true for delivery drivers, who are also in short supply while demand is high because online shopping is bigger than ever. Consequently, deliveries are often delayed or misdelivered because drivers are asked to do more in the same amount of time.
It’s no wonder that the American Customer Satisfaction Index has dropped to its lowest point in 20 years.
Five Inexpensive Ways to Elevate Your Customer Experience
So, what can a company do to elevate its customer experiences?
1. Listen to and Care for Your Employees
Take care of the people who are caring for your customers. Make sure they feel seen, heard, and valued.
2. Be Proactive with Your People
Solicit feedback. Survey your staff. Listen to better understand, not to provide an excuse or explanation.
3. Celebrate Them
Pizza may not cure all the ills, but when people feel recognized and appreciated, they’ll go the extra mile.
4. Help Sales Help Support
When salespeople engage with their customers, they can help alleviate stress on customer support.
5. Increase Transparency
The more front-line employees know about things that affect their customers, the more they can smooth things out.
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