The relationship between a company and its customers has always been important, but it seems like delivering top-notch customer experience is getting more critical in today’s market. Interactions between brands and their consumers are becoming increasingly more customer-driven thanks to the power of social media, and companies are no longer the only ones influencing their brand perception. What your customers say about you and your products is just as important (arguably even more important) than what you say about yourself. Technology has enabled today’s customers to have tremendous clout. Through the power and virality of Facebook, Twitter and online review sites, customers can influence a company’s brand value in a positive or a negative direction. And what your customers have to say about your brand is directly related to the experience they have when interacting with your company. Much of that interaction will stem from your company’s contact center.

According to recent customer experience studies, 73% of customers say friendly employees and customer service representatives (your frontline employees) are what made them fall in love with your brand. The same study found that 86% of consumers would be willing to pay 25% MORE for a better customer experience. A better customer experience could actually provide your company with more revenue! Having a great product is important, but your customer relationships have strategic criticality.

Even little positive customer experiences can have a dramatic impact on your customer retention and customer acquisition rates. Say a customer has a question about your return policy. If they can get in touch with a member of your contact center staff quickly and have their questions answered, you would have created a positive customer experience – leaving them feeling good about doing business with your brand. Happy customers are much more likely to become repeat customers and brand advocates, taking to popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter to share what your company did for them. Happy customers will typically tell 4 to 6 other people about their positive customer experiences with your brand, which introduces your brand to more potential customers.. In today’s market, peer reviews are an increasingly important component of a customer’s buying cycle, and having that word-of-mouth working in your favor is essential. A reputation of giving great customer service can actually aid in your customer acquisition efforts!

On the flip side, customers that have a negative experience with your brand are more likely (89% of customers surveyed admitted to this) to turn to a competitor for their next purchase. According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, a dis-satisfied consumer will tell between 9 and 15 people about their experience, which in turn diminishes your overall brand value within the market as a whole. Can your company afford to lose customers and turn off potential customers because of poor customer experience and bad customer service?

If you want to keep your current customers happy, as well as encourage new customers to buy from your company, you have to take the customer experience to heart and make it a core component of your company’s strategic priorities.