To build (or rebuild) customer trust and loyalty, companies should respond to feedback in a natural way that makes customers feel heard.
As we enter the new year, it is natural to predict what new trends, technologies, and advancements will be at the forefront of industries in the months ahead. Customer experience is no different. In 2018, we saw the impact major brands faced when they broke the trust of their customers. From criticisms of lack of transparency, data breaches, or high profile poor treatment of passengers going viral on social channels, organizations recognize more than ever the importance of investing in earning and maintaining the trust of their customers. Earning that trust means demonstrating that you’re actually listening to customers, and for most organizations, that process starts with establishing a customer feedback program.
It’s not easy to win customer loyalty and trust, and it’s even harder for companies to regain trust when they have violated it. In 2019, I expect we will see companies develop a renewed focus on having ongoing and engaging conversations with customers. To foster these conversations, companies need to deliver a feedback experience that meets the customer in a natural way, is quick for the customer to complete, and makes the customer feel heard. Organization need to take action based on insights gained from these conversations to improve the customer experience.
When customers don’t feel heard, businesses run the risk of losing trust and credibility. Failure to take action based on customer feedback means that customers will be less incentivized to keep the conversation going and provide feedback in the future. In all countries we surveyed earlier this year, the biggest breakers of trust are a poor product or a poor customer service experience, particularly for American consumers.
Having a customer-centric culture isn’t only beneficial to customers and shareholders; there is a correlation between having such a culture and having a more engaged workforce. Our research shows that when a business is closely aligned with its customers, it is strongly associated with employees’ sense of purpose. Among employees with a great deal of customer empathy, 76 percent find their jobs meaningful; among employees with low customer empathy, that figure drops to 49 percent. By focusing on improving the customer experience, companies can increase their own employees’ sense that their work is meaningful and in turn trust them to deliver better results.