Over the years, companies have adopted a strategy centred on customer needs. After all, good customer experiences lead to revenue growth. This is still the case, but economic challenges force companies to make difficult decisions that allow them to be profitable to survive. Often, these decisions erode customer experiences.
Reductions in the quality and size of a product or service, called skimpflation and shrinkflation, respectively, are at the root of the feeling that brands are failing to deliver on their promises. As a result, consumers see companies' actions to survive as greed. In this scenario, a new risk arises: "net suspicion". When customers are let down by one brand, they become suspicious of all the others.
According to the Accenture study, 37 per cent of consumers believe that, in recent years, companies have prioritised higher profits over a better customer experience. As a result, customers feel undervalued, causing friction in the brand-consumer relationship. According to the survey, the factors that most contribute to this feeling are:
- 47 per cent poor customer service
- 41 per cent ignored feedback
- 37 per cent decrease in product quality
- 25 per cent deterioration of packaging
How can we combat the erosion of the customer experience?
"While consumer behaviors are complex, tweaking the dials on customer experience will impact brand desirability. (...) Meaningful, competent customer experience will probably become a critical factor that defines their relationships with brands. They will only be persuaded by initiatives that earn trust through tangible support and stability", points out Accenture Life Trends.
Customer experience must once again be at the top of companies' priorities. The following steps must include mitigating problems that generate customer resentment, investing in the brand to show its value and new ways of defining and developing their relationship with customers.
So, brands should consider the following:
- Is compromising the customer experience at various touchpoints in the marketing funnel jeopardising trust, conversion rates and long-term loyalty?
- Is the company aligned on what is needed to keep the product in customers' baskets?
- How do you balance cost-cutting measures, which can jeopardise customer service and quality, with long-term customer relations?
For these questions, the study leaves the following suggestions:
- Explore the potential of Generative Artificial Intelligence as a long-term solution for improving the customer experience;
- Evaluate the "elasticity of forgiveness" of your brand, i.e. determine the extent to which your customers are willing to ignore and forgive negative experiences with the brand;
- Pay attention to feedback. What tools do you have to monitor changes in customer sentiment?
Find out more about the "Accenture Life Trends" study here.