Forbes research indicates that 86% of customers will pay more for a better customer experience (CX), and Gartner suggests that 89% of companies plan to compete primarily on the basis of CX in 2016. So is price no longer the major factor in making a purchasing decision?
Several weeks ago, I went through the process of selecting and ordering a new sofa. The customer experience was great. My local furniture store is attractive, their staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and their selection is good. They even have a playroom to occupy my kids while I shop.
I made my selections of style, color, fabric, and pillow trim– and then headed home to research the same model from other vendors in an attempt to save money.
Was I putting price above my overall great CX? Not at all. In fact, I’d argue that price has now become one part of the overall customer experience. Just as the customer journey starts long before a purchase, so the customer experience includes more than just customer service or your website. Price is a kind of touchpoint, a place where a customer’s emotions and logical decisions interact with your brand. The impression that pricing leaves can create positive or negative sentiment, and can lead to loyalty or churn.
In a blog post titled, “Pricing can make or break the customer experience,” Forrester analyst Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian expresses a similar view. “[Price] sets customers’ expectations for the experience — high price, high expectations, and vice versa. And it influences how customers perceive their experiences: Are they happy or frustrated? Do they feel treated fairly or ripped off? The effects on a company can be devastating!”
In my case, although I felt good about my visit to the furniture store, I felt the benefits of physically touching fabric samples and getting a little bit of advice didn’t provide enough value to overcome the price difference.
Companies need to optimize every touchpoint along a customer’s journey in order to earn new business and retain satisfied customers. Price may no longer be the main differentiator for many businesses, but it is a key part of the customer experience and should not be neglected or customers will go elsewhere.
Are you thinking about how your pricing model intersects with your customer’s journey? Look at our Ultimate Guide to Customer Journey Mapping using the form on this page to start.
Lisa Sigler is Sr. Manager of Content Marketing at Clarabridge. For over 16 years, Lisa has used her writing and editorial skills to bring the value and benefits of technology to life. In her current role, she works to demonstrate Clarabridge’s position as thought leader and trailblazer in the Customer Experience Management market. Lisa holds a B.A. of English from Kent State University. Read more from Lisa on Twitter @siglerLis.