What Really Shapes the Customer Experience

What Really Shapes the Customer Experience

          
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What Really Shapes the Customer Experience

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    September 2015
    The Most Recommended Brands 2015
    BCG’s Brand Advocacy Index shines a spotlight on the companies that excel in creating positive customer experiences. See the survey’s results for eight countries and seven industries.

    In today’s omnichannel world, consumers have many more ways to learn about and purchase products and services—such as through websites and social media, in a store, and on a device while on the go—than they have had in the past. With so many channels, platforms, and devices to get right, companies frequently struggle to coordinate and prioritize the many different ways that customers interact with brands. Worse yet, they have difficulty defining the right metrics to measure success.

    The good news is that companies can assess and improve their customers’ experience through a simple yet powerful indicator that BCG has found to be one of the best predictors of business performance: word-of-mouth recommendation, or brand advocacy. The better the experience, the more customers will talk about it with the people they know—while the worse the experience, the more they will spread the bad news. Our research has found that four aspects of the customer experience have an impact on brand advocacy: value for money, customer service, product satisfaction, and emotional connection.

    To holistically measure word-of-mouth recommendation, companies can use BCG’s Brand Advocacy Index (BAI), the only measure of customers’ experience that is highly correlated with growth. BAI measures customer experience by means of actual recommendations—not just good intentions—among customers, noncustomers, and former customers. It asks simple yet powerful questions, such as “Have you recommended the brand, and why?”

    For this year’s report, we used BAI to measure the experiences of more than 227,000 customers—roughly double the number of customers surveyed in our previous report—with 650 brands in eight countries and seven industries. (See Fueling Growth Through Word of Mouth: Introducing the Brand Advocacy Index, BCG Focus, December 2013.) Our survey revealed the companies whose customers’ experiences have earned them the strongest word-of-mouth recommendations. (For a list of the top brands by BAI, see “The Most Recommended Brands 2015.”)

    Our survey also revealed the sources of growth as a result of good customer experience. We know that people who have excellent customer experiences become strong advocates for a brand, spend significantly more, and are much more loyal than customers who have poor experiences. Companies in every industry can use these insights to improve their customers’ experience and thereby generate significantly higher growth.

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