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In an age where globalization and online access have practically erased price, product characteristics and availability as competitive differentiators, it’s customer service that now stands out as a key reason why consumers will favor one brand, product or service over another. According to a recent Customers 2020 Report, by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Many say it already has.

Talking the Customer Experience Talk

While it’s easy for many brands today to talk the talk when it comes to being customer-centric or offering an exceptional customer experience, walking the walk is a story that currently can only be truly told by the few. In fact, a recent study by Bain & Company reveals that while 80% of companies believe they are delivering a superior experience to their customers, only 8% of customers agree.  

According to Forrester Principal Analyst Kate Leggett in a new report, Navigate the Future of Customer Service in 2014, customers are becoming increasingly dissatisfied because organizations are often delivering (1) inconsistent cross-channel experiences, (2) reactive, not proactive customer service, (3) one-size-fits-all customer engagement processes, and (4) inefficient agent interactions.

So to walk the walk when it comes to consistently improving and delivering satisfying customer experiences, brands should focus on key aligning trends that include:

  • an optimized mobile customer experience
  • social media as a platform for customer engagement and service
  • using knowledge as a foundation for consistent multi-channel support
  • using data and analytics to improve and personalize the customer experience.

Why the focus on the above trends? Consider these statistics:

  • By 2015, there will be more people accessing the web using a mobile device than a wireless computer. (IDC Worldwide New Media Market Model Forecast)
  • 71% of consumers who experience a quick and effective brand response on social media are likely to recommend that brand to others, compared to just 19% of customers who do not receive a response. (NM Incite)
  • 40% of approximately 3,000 consumers in a global survey said they prefer self-service to human contact for their future contact with companies; 70% expect a company website to include a self-service application. (The Real Self-Service Economy)
  • The customer of 2020 will be more informed and in charge of the experience they receive. They will expect companies to know their individual needs and personalize the experience. Immediate resolution will not be fast enough as customers will expect companies to proactively address their current and future needs. (Customers 2020 Report)

Getting a head start on mobile, social media, big data and knowledge management above will help brands and organizations when it comes to tackling the even bigger trends on the horizon such as the Internet of Things (IoT).

August 28 Webinar Discusses Top Trends

If your brand or organization is not already on the path to an improved customer experience across current and new channels – or if it is, and you’d like to listen in on the latest discussion – join Fred Studer, GM of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, on August 28 for the Meet the Experts Live! Webinar with recent Harvard Business Review author and nationally recognized customer service thought leader, Duke Chung, founder of Parature, from Microsoft.

This is a one-hour free webinar that will take place at 3pm Eastern / noon Pacific. Click here to register.

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