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Customer experience survey finds gaps in implementation

While research shows companies, and even customers, appreciate the need for a better experience, few organizations in Hungary seem to be acting on this knowledge.

Making sure that customers have positive thoughts about your product or services was once considered an interesting new concept. These days, a good customer experience is seen as essential.

More companies, and clients, now understand that a customer’s experience, created over the course of the transaction between a vendor and a customer, is the best way to encourage return sales, and possibly turning clients into unpaid marketers.

The latest annual National Customer Experience Survey by Develor, an international consulting firm based in Hungary with a specialization in customer experience, shows big changes in consciousness of the issue between 2013, when the first survey was made, and last year. The results indicate that more businesses – and more customers – are aware of the importance of customer experience.

One indication of this awareness is the finding that 42% of the Hungarian population said they have already paid more for a higher customer experience. Apparently customers were happy to spend extra for a better experience: Some 31% of the respondents of the representative survey said they were willing to pay 10% more for higher levels of customer experience, while 17% said they would be willing to pay even 30% more.

The survey also shows that, with each passing year, the number of those who agree that customer experience is becoming one of the most important factors when deciding to choose a business or service provider has gradually been increasing.

Not acting on their knowledge

Despite the growing awareness of the need to implant the customer experience into corporate processes, systems and actions, in practice companies seem to be lagging behind in the field.

“Companies put the topic in their strategy but execution fails as is demonstrated by the dropping sector-specific Net Promoter Score (NPS) results,” Zsolt Pozvai, global CEO at DEVELOR International, told the Budapest Business Journal.

NPS is a measurement tool used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships. NPS serves as an alternative to traditional customer satisfaction research, and its adherents say the measure can be correlated with revenue growth.

According to Pozvai, the drop in NPS indicated by the survey is caused by low or missing implementation of policies and strategic initiatives to improve the customer experience, and it is a widespread problem.

“This is not Hungary-specific phenomenon. This is typical in most Central European countries, but leading companies have started to wake up recently,” Pozvai said.

“Telecoms, insurers, banks and car sales firms are the frontrunners, while most retailers and utility firms lag behind. Almost all players in the relevant industries aim to be the leaders of CX, but only a few have the detailed and clear strategy and – more importantly – implementation plan in place,” Pozvai said. “Of course, far more claim they took serious steps in this field, but it’s nothing more than executing some research and related marketing initiatives. In customer experience improvement, the do-it-yourself solutions and old paradigms won’t put you on the top of the list, but regularly create a barrier to real changes.”

Who is doing well?

Based on the results of NPS surveys, Develor found that customers rated the majority of service providers negatively, the survey reveals. This is to be expected, as one-quarter of the adult Hungarian population is critical towards all the service providers active in the country.

Develor said that one of the leading reasons why customer experience is deteriorating is that there has been no significant improvement in terms of either personal or call center customer service accessibility and quality in Hungary. One half of the Hungarian population apparently believes that customer service is slow, and service staff preparedness and problem solving skills were deemed mediocre.

Some 92% of the survey’s respondents said they tend to have negative experiences when using services, but only 34% of them are willing to make a complaint to the service provider. This means that the feedback the companies need in order to identify areas for improvement is at a relatively low level, as two-thirds of complaints are never revealed, even though the majority of customers have encountered issues that left a negative stain in their loyalty to the brand.

“Companies have to work not only on how to respond and solve customers’ issues but also how to collect the complaints more efficiently, because our survey also proved that there is no bigger impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty than solving a problem quickly and well,” Pozvai said.

Net Promoter Scores by types of firm

How much more would you pay for a better customer experience?

Change in NPS scores, 2013/2015

Three most important qualities for a service company

Top 3 reasons for emphasizing CX

Source for all these charts: Develor’s latest survey