Even with 2020 in the rearview mirror, it’s readily apparent disruption levels in the retail industry will remain high for quite some time. Formerly reliable approaches to business simply won’t work in this new and rapidly changing environment. 

One of the most important things to realize is customers have gained a significant level of power, especially over the past year. Providing them with the best experience possible should be your top priority from here on out.

By saying consumers have power, we mean they have an incredible influence over the purchase choices of others. Thanks to social media and the reliability of word-of-mouth marketing, one happy buyer can result in increased demand for your product or service. Of course, the contrary is also true. The bottom line is customer retention and loyalty are the keys to business success.

Understand the Current Business Landscape with These Statistics & Key Takeaways

To offer a clearer picture of the current relationship between businesses and consumers, we’ve examined some of the latest studies on customer experience and retention so you can stay up to date on the best practices. Take a look at some of the most important takeaways for 2021 below.

1. The importance of customer service has leveled the playing field. According to Gartner, 81% of businesses compete primarily on customer experience.

2. Most companies understand the importance of going digital. In fact, Gartner reports that 67% of business leaders believe their business will no longer be competitive without embracing digital transformation. If you’re not part of this group, you may find you’re quickly left behind.

3.Understanding your Net Promotor Score (NPS) is key. A study by Bain & Company suggests differences in Net Promoter Score explain between 10% and 70% of the differences in revenue growth between direct competitors.

4. Consumers value a great experience, perhaps more than they value a bargain. According to PwC, customers are willing to pay up to a 16% price premium for a great customer experience.

5. As a business, you can’t count on being given a second chance. With 32% of customers willing to walk away from a brand they love because of just one bad experience, there’s little room for error. (Source: PwC)

6. In a study by Salesforce, 80% of customers say the experience businesses provide is just as important as its products and services. Therefore, businesses should view the experience they offer as part of their product.

7. Fifty-nine percent (59%) of customers state tailoring future interactions based on past engagement is key to winning their business. As a result, it’s clear personalization is an essential part of a great experience. (Source: Salesforce)

8. Bad experiences often have greater ramifications than positive ones. Since customers tell an average of 9 people about positive experiences, but an average of 16 people about negative experiences, businesses need to go the extra mile to prevent negative outcomes. (Source: Deloitte)

9. Business Wire offers a slightly different statistic, claiming satisfied US customers will share their positive experience with 11 different people. As this is no small number, word-of-mouth marketing may be more important now than ever.

10. Loyalty and points-based programs are having a major heyday, with 72% of US adults belonging to at least one loyalty program. (Source: Oracle)

11. Americans aren’t just willing to sign up for loyalty programs. They actively enjoy taking part in them. eMarketer suggests 58.7% of internet users believe earning rewards and loyalty points is one of the most valued aspects of the shopping experience.

12. The vast majority of consumers are open to trading a certain level of privacy for greater personalization. Bond reports that 87% of Americans are willing to have various details of their activity tracked in exchange for more personalized rewards and brand experiences.

13. Consumers have high expectations for brands that go well beyond the value of a simple product or service. A full 75% of consumers expect brands to make more of a contribution to their well-being and quality of life. (Source: Havas)

14. Customer service can make or break customer retention rates. A total of 69% of US consumers say customer service is very important when it comes to their loyalty to a brand. (Source: Microsoft)

15. Repeat purchases are also significantly affected by customer service experiences, with 93% of consumers more likely to make repeat purchases at companies with excellent customer service. (Source: HubSpot)

16. Although customer service is of the utmost importance, it seems not all businesses have gotten the memo. HubSpot reports that more than half of consumers, 54% to be precise, say they’ve had at least one bad customer service experience in the last month.

17. Businesses are still trying to figure out how to leverage technology to provide the kind of personalized experience their customers desire. A whopping 69% of US marketers believe technology has made it harder for them to offer customers personalized experiences. (Source: Acquia) Therefore, it’s clear that getting the formula just right could put you miles ahead of your competitors.

18. Loyalty is not a trivial concept, but rather a lasting relationship that can have a huge impact on both your brand’s reputation and the bottom line of your business. InMoment reports that 77% of consumers say they stayed loyal to specific brands for 10 years or more.

19. While the above statistic shows loyalty can be long-lasting, it is never a guarantee to be taken for granted. HubSpot offers evidence that 50% of US consumers have left a brand they were loyal to for a competitor that better met their needs.

20. One repeat purchase does not make a loyal customer, especially in the eyes of the consumer. Yotpo claims 37% of consumers feel they need at least five purchases to consider themselves loyal to a brand.

21. Freebies may mean more to your customers than you think and can actually play a role in building relationships. AP News reports 61% of consumers think surprise gifts and offers are the most important way a brand can interact with them.

22. Your customers want to know you value their opinions. According to Microsoft, 77% of consumers say they favor brands that ask for and accept customer feedback.

23. You don’t have to box yourself into traditional methods of customer service. Why not take advantage of new platforms? After all, 65% of customers aged 18-34 feel social media platforms are an effective channel for customer service. (Source: Microsoft)

24. Millennials aren’t willing to put up with bad customer service and are more than ready to go elsewhere after a negative interaction. Business Wire shows 74% of this age group will switch to a different retailer if they receive poor customer service.

25. The past year has been tough for customer acquisition, leading many brands to shift their focus to customer loyalty and retention. As a result, 90.2% of US consumers feel equally or more loyal to a brand than they were a year ago. (Source: Yotpo)

These statistics can help you begin thinking in terms of customer experience and better understand how important it is to focus on consumers’ needs during every step of the purchase journey. While one small misstep can cost you dearly, investing in customer experience is proven to reap tremendous rewards.

He was losing it. He tried to turn away to hide it, but Paul caught a flash of building rage on his face.

“That was painful to watch,” he said through gritted teeth in an unnervingly level voice.

“You said it would be OK,” Paul started, reeling from the reaction, but he was cut off by the steadily rising volume of the other man.

“Just stop,” the irate man spat, “I have to walk away before I…” he trailed off as he stormed over to the chain link fence that separated his front yard from a drainage ditch.

Paul couldn’t imagine what the end of that sentence could possibly have been. Stunned, he stood silently for a moment and watched the man’s knuckles turn white as he gripped a fence post and stared into the distance. This one was certainly going to be a challenge.

This, quite surprisingly, was an actual customer service interaction. It was dramatic, it was unexpected, and it was even a bit frightening at points, but it was, at the end of the day, a fairly low-stakes customer service situation gone awry. Many customers surprise business owners with patience and kindness in the face of a problem, and they are often easily swayed into the promoter category if the problem is remedied correctly. A few customers, however, erupt at the slightest sign of turbulence during service and can seem too hostile or stubborn to salvage. While they may not seem worth all the pain and effort, when handled correctly, these individuals often tend to surprise business owners in quite a different way.

Paul was an eager twenty-something running business development for a portable storage and moving franchisee. In his territory’s infancy, there were only three or four team members, so everyone did everything from sales and marketing to truck driving and manual labor. The company’s wheelhouse was one to two bedroom apartments and small homes that could fit in just one of their containers. This particular customer caught them off guard by placing what was by far the largest order to date. He needed four containers-worth of storage packed and stored and then moved to a new home. Even with all hands on deck, it was a logistical nightmare. As backbreaking as it was, though, all the overwhelmed team could do was smile and put in a couple fifteen-hour days. They were very green and in desperate need of customers.

Servicing the order started out relatively smoothly. The third-party labor help showed up on time, and the pace was ahead of schedule. Paul had no prior experience driving trucks or hauling large cargo, but he was one of only two employees insured to make deliveries at the time. Delivering the second and third storage containers had fallen to him. Despite a week of practice with the rig, he still had some difficulty backing the 5,000lb trailer into the angled driveway.

“This grass here is firm, you can roll over it with the truck if that helps,” the owner shouted to him from his lawn.

“Are you sure?” Paul was skeptical. Property damage was always a big concern on these jobs.

“Go for it!” The man seemed pretty certain.

It was an 8”x5” patch. Another driver measured it eventually out of curiosity. An area the size of a large envelope was all it took to turn this seemingly agreeable homeowner into a seething wildcard. One of Paul’s tires had spun out in the lawn and brought the whole job crashing down around him. He was bewildered and at a loss, and it would turn out that the customer needed some time to calm himself. What Paul and his team did next, though, would rewrite the likely outcome of this upsetting scene.

As powerful as “I’m sorry” is, sometimes it does not get through the first time. Paul offered some free products and asked how he could make things right.

“You can’t, can you?” The customer seemed to have made up his mind, and eventually refused to even speak to Paul, shutting the garage door on him as he pleaded for a resolution. Paul was beside himself, but he knew he had to think of something. He informed a superior of the situation immediately, and they got to work on a solution.

The next day, Paul’s boss showed up to the customer’s house slightly earlier than the scheduled loading time. They figured Paul should hang back until the customer had time to regain his composure. His boss was armed not with another apology but with a grass fork, the correct strain of grass seed, chocolates for the customer’s wife, and a discount on delivery services. He was willing to get down in the dirt on his hands and knees to resolve the problem, and with this sign of contrition, the man started to realize that maybe he had overreacted. Just a little.

When Paul eventually rejoined the servicing efforts, he not only received several warm handshakes and compliments from the man who could barely stand to look at him the day before, but he was pleasantly surprised with gleaming 5-star reviews and testimonials online. The customer event went on to refer some new business to the company.

No matter how hopeless a customer service situation seems, there is always a chance for redemption. When an apology and the regular course of action do not do the trick, it might be time to get creative. The greatest detractor a business has ever seen may become its biggest advocate, even if its the man who cares too much about his lawn.

When you sign a check, you’re sure to know where it’s going. When you invest, you monitor the markets. As a business, you can’t afford to treat your brand any differently.

Every time a customer chooses to spend with your brand, you’re putting your signature on the experience that customer receives. In the early days of franchising, the business embodies your vision and passion for exemplary customer service. As you grow and entrust your brand to more franchisees and locations, it becomes increasingly difficult to ensure the same quality across the expanse of your organization. Your dedication to your customers got you to where you are today; it’s time you saw that in action all over your network.

Meet the Net Promoter System. A product of years of research at Bain and Company, NPS is the pinnacle of customer feedback tools. The system reveals exactly how your customers feel about your brand. You can see which practices are working and which are causing friction on a regional, individual location, or even team member level.

Giants like Apple and Amazon use these proven metrics to understand how their customers are feelingestablish accountability for the customer experience, and confidently predict future profits. With more than two-thirds of the Fortune 1000 behind it, the NPS formula is certainly worth examining.

We’ve watched franchises use NPS in various ways to create ecstatic customer bases over the years. While each industry naturally has nuances, the general application and strategy around customer feedback remains very similar and very effective. We put these observations into an eBook that can guide you through the ins and outs of customer engagement through NPS. Don’t miss out; give it a read here.


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How do you know that all of your customers are receiving a consistent experience? Are they sharing that experience with their friends and family? As your business grows, it’s increasingly important to ensure that you continue delivering the service that got you to where you are now.

To help you get started, we’ve distilled 4 secrets from our brand promise webinar into this mini video series.

Watch now and learn:

  • Why satisfaction falls short when crafting a brand promise
  • The #1 tool to measure a customer’s emotional connection to your brand
  • Key tactics on how to use feedback to manage your business
  • 4 ways to get happy customers to tell their friends