Sales aren’t everything: The importance of good CX

Conversions might be king, but establishing good CX is vital for a lasting reign
2 August 2019

Good customer experience means more sales down the line. Source: Shutterstock

The go-to benchmark of business success is sales. Whether that’s in the form of fifty-grand annual enterprise software subscriptions, cars shifted from a garage forecourt, or bottles of conditioner sold in a supermarket— conversions are king in the capitalist economy. 

But, while a sale keeps the pocket lined, albeit temporarily, it does not a long-term, successful business make. That’s according to new research uncovered by Clearlink, which unearths the impact that customer experience (CX) has on long-term business perception. 

It’s news that CX plays a vital part in prodding a user along the customer journey. As early as 2013, Deloitte found companies regarded it as a “competitive differentiator”

But since then, customer expectations have changed— what was regarded as a slick and personalized service more than five years ago, is taken for granted as basic by today’s users. 

While nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of consumers cite good CX as a standout quality today according to PwC, less than half (49 percent) say companies are providing anything close a good customer experience. 

The upshot is that CX is frequently falling casualty to businesses’ continued association of success with sales. But customers are motivated by other factors— and these factors will influence their propensity to buy, and keep doing so in the longer term.

Based on the Net Promoter Score— a tool used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships— the study found that customer satisfaction scores impact conversion and cancellation rates, as well as brand reputation. 

The research was based on thousands of responses over a six-month period among customers buying from a large telecommunications firm. The report surmises that while refining sales techniques is crucial, enhancing customer experience is worthy of equal investment. 

How to improve customer experience

The first step is finding out how your customer interacts with your brand, and that means collecting data on purchasing behavior, their needs, and where they are facing challenges or “pain points” with your brand. 

In particular, the research focused on the relationship between sales agent interactions, and the impact these had on conversions, product and service fulfillment, average handle time, and units and revenue per sale.

The results, unsurprisingly, show crystal clear correlation between how a customer perceives a brand and their likelihood of converting, but it also translates into lower cancellation rates. Highest NPS scores were matched by the highest rates of conversion.  

Higher average handle time (AHT) also proved to be a boon for customer experience, showing that a more in-depth, patient pitch is as good for sales as it is for a feeling of brand affinity— although brands should be wary to balance AHT, conversion rates, and margin. 

Callers who purchased were asked what role the agent played in their purchase decision. Almost 90 percent of the time, purchasers said that the “agent cared about me,” and 87 percent of the time, customers indicated that the “agent was trustworthy.” 

Even if businesses don’t make a sale, focusing on CX can result in the creation of brand promoters, increasing the likelihood of potential sales and revenue down the line. 

Ultimately, the study shows that CX isn’t just a nice-to-have, it has a direct influence on conversions themselves, even if they don’t manifest in immediate sales. 

The report urges business to focus on prioritizing AHT, but efficiently. While getting customers to the right person, quickly, is crucial for the bottom line, it may be better allotting more time to more attentive service. 

“When there are countless companies from which to choose, customers can demand the best in service. The more knowledgeable, friendly, and caring a sales agent seems, the more likely a customer is to trust them and purchase from them.”

Making a sale is just part of the customer relationship, a one-time buyer may make a purchase, but one who garners an affinity with your brand may recommend you to others and develop long-term loyalty.