6 Reasons Why Merchants Need to Reimagine the Customer Experience

In the age of instant gratification, unlimited substitutes, and modern technology, the customer experience is quickly becoming a key differentiator for merchants. In fact, a recent Salesforce study found that 80 percent of customers believe that the experience a company provides is just as important as the products it sells. What’s more, nearly half of customers will stop supporting a business following a bad experience. This is a big deal—particularly because it’s easier than ever for customers to find substitutes thanks to mobile devices and ubiquitous connectivity.

Suffice it to say that continuously improving the customer experience should be a top priority for merchants in all industries. Not only can superior customer experiences help engage and retain customers, they can also have a tremendous impact on your bottom line. One study, for example, found that 67 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for a great experience. Add it all up, and it comes as no surprise that research from Bain found that a 5 percent increase in customer retention can translate into a 25 percent increase in profit.

Need some more convincing on just how important the customer experience is? Let’s explore the top six reasons merchants need to reimagine the customer experience if they want to take their businesses to the next level.

1. The customer experience is a key differentiator

Imagine you drive across town to buy something at a brick-and-mortar shop only to be greeted by poor customer service, long lines, and prices that seem inflated. You finish your purchase, head home, and find out that you could have bought the same thing on Amazon—which would have saved you a lot of time, a lot of hassle, and a decent amount of money. Would you go to that store in the future?

If you’re like most people, probably not. In the digital age, the customer experience is becoming more and more important. To this end, it is critical that merchants do everything within their power to delight their customers during each interaction. An easy way to do that is by investing in the latest POS system and smart terminal that enables customers to pay however they’d like (e.g., NFC, EMV, mag stripe, cash, credit cards, pin on glass, and more). These systems also make your employees’ jobs easier by giving them more time to focus on serving customers to the best of their abilities.

2. Customers will pay more for a good experience

Any investment you make in improving the customer experience will pay dividends because two-thirds of customers are willing to pay more for great experiences. This makes perfect sense: Would you continue going to the same restaurant that constantly gets your order wrong? Instead, wouldn’t you be willing to spend a little bit more to have an exemplary dining experience?

3. Customers leave following a bad experience

Thanks to the internet, a competitor is always just a quick Google search away. This is why 80 percent of customers are willing to switch brands following a negative experience; doing so is easy. Because the last thing you want is for your customers to support your competitors, you need to reimagine the customer experience so they don’t have any reason to look elsewhere.

4. Loyal customers are very profitable for your business

Though loyal customers may only account for up to 15 percent of your customer base, that small group of shoppers can be responsible for as much as 70 percent of your sales. Since the bulk of customers leave following a bad experience, it’s in your best interest to ensure superior customer experiences every time. How else can you nurture loyal customers?

5. We all trust customer reviews

Believe it or not, 84 percent of consumers trust online reviews just as much as they trust a recommendation from a friend. Because customers are more likely to leave bad reviews than good ones—and because reviews impact the majority of our buying decisions—merchants need to do everything they can to increase the chances that customers will leave glowing reviews of their businesses.

6. Customers demand personalization and instant gratification

Today’s customers demand personalization and instant gratification. For merchants, this means that they expect transactions to be quick, and they expect to be able to pay for things however they want to pay for them. What’s more, customers are so accustomed to today's tech-driven experiences that old-fashioned experiences no longer cut it. By investing in the latest payment solutions, you can deliver on both of these expectations.

For Merchants, Payments Are at the Center of the Customer Experience

For any merchant, payments play a central role in shaping the customer experience. We all know how annoying it can be when a line takes forever to move—or when we find out that our preferred payment medium isn’t accepted somewhere.

If you’re a merchant who has relied on the same POS system for some time, you’re hurting the customer experience. It’s that simple. Old-fashioned POS systems slow lines down and slow employees down.

The good news is that by moving to the latest payment acceptance solution, you can improve CX by offering a seamless payment experience. That’s the ticket to happier customers, happier employees, better customer reviews, and a healthier bottom line.