Word (and Warning) to the Wise: Site Downtime isn’t Just a Technical Issue — it’s a Customer Experience Problem
Businesses of all sizes — from small startups to large enterprises — are spending an enormous amount of money and time to deliver outstanding customer experience (CX). For example, they’re deploying contact centers, implementing customer-friendly return and warranty policies, training their workforce to be customer-centric, and the list goes on. And now, according to research by Walker Insights, CX is poised to overtake price and product as the most influential brand differentiator. To put this another way: customers are happily willing to pay a higher price, and for a more limited selection, if they’re getting the attention, performance, respect and results they expect — and frankly, demand.
The CX Gap that is Swallowing Customers
However, despite the fact that the CX party has been going on for a while and there’s no slowdown in sight, there’s a gap that many businesses are overlooking — one that is swallowing up their current and future customers, and transporting them directly to the competition: site downtime.
Here’s the thing: traditionally, site downtime has been primarily, if not exclusively, viewed through a technical lens, similar to a car breaking down or a roof springing a leak. And there is obviously truth in this perception. But it’s not the whole story, because customers out there on the virtual landscape equate site experience with customer experience. As such, when a site goes dark, they don’t think: “This customer-centric business has a technical problem with their website, and are surely going to fix it ASAP.” Instead, they think: “Wow, if this is what their website is like, then the rest of the business must be just as dysfunctional.”
Now, is this perception fair? Frankly, no. The vast majority of businesses — let’s say 99% of them — with site downtime truly care about delivering good (if not great) CX. These are the same businesses that, as noted above, are spending plenty of money and time on CX-related investments and training. They seriously and urgently want to get CX right.
But when their website breaks down or blows a virtual tire, this legitimate, longstanding investment and CX commitment is undermined — and customers react accordingly. Here are some of the grizzly numbers:
- 50% of customers say they have abandoned a transaction or purchase due to poor customer service.
- 51% of customers say they will never do business with a company again after one instance of poor customer service.
- 74% of customers say they are likely to switch brands if the purchasing process is too difficult.
- 95% of customers tell others about poor customer service.
The Bottom Line
The takeaway here isn’t that businesses need to care more about CX — because they know this already, and (hopefully) are acting on this understanding. Rather, it’s that businesses need to see the direct, immediate link between poor CX and site downtime. It’s not just a technical issue. For current and future customers, it’s the difference between whether they move forward on the buyer’s journey and serve as a profitable brand advisor, or whether they head for the exit and never look back.
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