Customer Experience ROI: Why Not Investing can Sabotage Your Success

by Jeannie Walters

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Here’s something sort of funny. Whenever I speak to a group or lead a workshop, a few people approach me. These are individuals who pull me aside and say things like: “I get customer experience! I understand why it’s so important. I just wish the others in my company did.”

We can ALL identify with being the customer.

But we can’t all identify with being OUR customer. And it turns out this is a very big gap. We believe we get it. We believe others don’t.  But guess what? Those who truly “get” customer experience understand that they don’t really get it. We may intuitively know what the return on the investment in a superior customer experience is, but can we truly articulate it? Here are some thoughts on how you may want to consider it.


 The latest 2013 customer rage study shows 56 million American households experienced at least one problem during the past 12 months, and about $76 billion in revenue was at stake for the businesses involved. Source

The best companies are not the best by accident.

They are constantly innovating and evaluating and seeking to understand their customer experience. The best companies are the leaders in customer experience.


Watermark Consulting evaluated the customer experience leaders and laggards from Forrester’s research from 2007 – 2013, and found the leaders’ stocks outperformed the laggards in customer experience by almost 77%! Source

Innovation is not optional.

Investing in understanding your customers and the experience they have with not only your organization, but the marketplace in general, is also investing in innovation. Customer expectations are changing more than ever before, so companies that don’t innovate to keep pace with those expectations will become extinct. It’s not just your products and services, but how those products and services fit into your customer’s entire ecosystem.


According to a Communications Review white paper from PwC, there will be “significant changes in the way we go about our lives as the Facebook generation grows up. We’re seeing an increasing convergence of place and space in, for example, e-health, online education and telecommuting. This trend will put new demands on the traditional services…” Source

It’s about your customers’ real life.

It’s difficult (maybe impossible?) to understand your customer’s real life and how your brand fits into that life without spending some time evaluating and documenting it. Customer journey mapping, customer feedback mechanisms, and social listening posts are just a few of the ways smart companies discover where innovation dollars are best spent.

A great customer experience starts with a great employee experience. Understanding the costs of having a disengaged workforce paints the picture of how important this type of investment is.

Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace concludes that companies with engaged workforces have higher earnings per share (EPS) and seem to have recovered from the recession at a faster rate.  Source

What does all this mean?

It means by NOT investing in your customer experience, you are missing out on huge potential for growth, job creation, higher profits and productivity. Investing in understanding your customer journey, helping your employees connect the dots of their everyday jobs with a customer experience mission, and helping your leaders and teams be as customer-centric as possible will lead to huge returns on those investments.


And if you don’t?

If you don’t invest in customer experience, your customers will simply drift away. They will find the competitors who are investing in their happiness. And your employees will start to disengage. And then you can see where this is going.

So before you say “we don’t have the budget for customer experience,” consider what the results would be if you don’t invest.

Photo Credits: dougbelshawShan213 via Creative Commons

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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