By Fergus Miskelly, EMEA Advisory Director, Cloud Sherpas

Customers have always been, and will always continue to be, the most important part of any business, because without them you have no future. Therefore, every business needs to focus on bringing in new customers, satisfying those customers and keeping them coming back as loyal customers. The key to making that equation work is an optimised customer experience.

The Customer Experience Has Reached New Heights

It’s More Important Than Ever...

Although the customer experience has always been important, optimising it has never been as critical to success as it is today. Why? In one word: Technology.

Modern technology — including cloud, social and mobile — have created a perfect storm that makes the quality of customers’ experiences with your business more important than other factors. The reason behind this change is twofold:

1. These technologies level the playing field among businesses. For example, they make it easy for new players to come on the scene and quickly compete right alongside established businesses. They also make it possible for businesses to attract customers from all over the globe meaning that, in most cases, location no longer matters.

2. These technologies also make it easier for customers to switch from one company to the next. If the playing field is even among businesses and location doesn’t necessarily matter, how do customers determine who to patron? It all comes down to experiential factors like accessibility, ease of engagement and value of interactions.

...And Demands Are Higher Than Ever

In the face of all these changes, your customers are now in the driver’s seat and they know it.

Today, customers demand effortless, value-add interactions on the channels of their choice and they even want to switch channels seamlessly as they see fit and engage at any time.

Although demands like these are high, your business must deliver because if you don’t, your customers can — and will — take their business elsewhere.

The Benefits of an Optimised Customer Experience

Now that the customer experience has reached these new heights, the cost of not optimising your experience (losing customers) is quite high. That said, the benefits of optimising it are even higher.

At the end of the day, optimising your customer experience can lead to numerous economic benefits. That’s because an optimised customer experience will positively impact customer satisfaction, and satisfied customers are more likely to become loyal customers. And whether you’re looking at loyalty from a retention perspective, an enrichment perspective or an advocacy perspective, loyalty leads to benefits galore.

Economic benefits, in particular, include:

1. Reduced cost of customer acquisition: Both retention and enrichment loyalty mean repeat purchases from existing customers, and it’s both less expensive and easier to sell to existing customers than to new customers.

2. Increased revenue from repeat customers: These repeat customers also tend to spend more than new customers and even advocate for your business by referring others, which helps create a new base of loyal customers (and also helps lower customer acquisition costs).

Can You Afford Not to Optimise Your Customer Experience?

Given the importance of an optimised customer experience in today’s technology-driven market as well as the economic benefits that result from creating such a positive experience, can you afford not to improve yours? Your competitors certainly will be.