Illustration of two people running along an arrow with an upwards trajectory, accompanied by various financial symbols representing revenue

Nine real-world examples of great customer experience driving revenue

A slick customer experience (CX) has plenty of benefits: improved trust, higher customer retention, more word-of-mouth recommendations and stronger customer engagement. All of these benefits, in turn, contribute to higher revenue.

A Salesforce survey of more than 12,000 consumers in 2020 found that 91% of customers said they'd be more likely to make another purchase with a brand after having a great service experience. The case for CX driving revenue is strengthened by research from Forrester that shows that when a company makes customers feel appreciated, 76% of people will keep their business with the brand, 80% will spend more with the brand and 87% will recommend the brand to their friends and family members.

Brands that go above and beyond to deliver a great customer experience are often rewarded in sales. Here are nine brands that serve as instructive examples when it comes to CX-driven growth, as well as a description of what makes them trailblazers in their respective industries.

A great experience across all channels

Delivering a unified and consistent customer experience, no matter where or how customers choose to interact with your brand, instils the kind of confidence that keeps customers coming back. Consider these retail examples:

IKEA

Throughout the pandemic, IKEA opened more stores, invested in its home delivery network and continued to launch improvements to its app, all in an effort to create an awesome experience for shoppers both on the ground and online. As a result, according to the company's annual summary, in 2020 the company recorded $4.7 billion in total sales, including a 32% increase in eCommerce sales. IKEA also recorded an impressive 60 million visitors at its stores and had more than 490 million visitors frequent its website, figures that backup the effectiveness of its consistent CX.

Lowe's

For this home improvement retailer, more than 60% of online orders are picked up in stores. That's why the company installed self-service lockers near the front of its locations so that shoppers can conveniently collect their items. Customers complete their purchases by scanning a barcode at a locker using their smartphones — meaning there's no need to wait in line. Innovations like these are helping the company record impressive revenue gains. The company recently raised its full-year revenue outlook for 2021 to $92 billion, up from prior expectations of $86 billion (a 28% rise from 2019).

2020Sep 333 Image of Lowe's pickup lockers.

Customer-centric features

There is only so much time in a day. The following companies focused on introducing customer-centric features to help customers get what they want, quicker.

Uber

Uber overhauled its rider app to introduce an emphasis on Uber Eats — its food delivery service — and to unify both businesses on a common platform. When users open the app, they're given the choice of either getting a ride or ordering food from the convenience of the home screen. Making it easy for users to find Uber Eats on the app paid off: Uber Eats generated $4.8 billion in revenue in 2020, a 152% increase from 2019. While the pandemic contributed to an increase in societal 'appetite' for delivery, Uber continued to iterate on their CX to help customers get from A to B, or from hungry to full, without the hassle.

Lime

E-scooter and urban mobility company Lime has been prioritizing and acting on rider interests to deliver a meaningful and effortless experience for customers. In speaking with TELUS International, Russell Murphy, senior director of communications at Lime said, "One of our goals at Lime is to make the experience of renting and riding our vehicles as seamless as possible." The company has been able to record revenue gains with innovations that include a "group ride" feature that enables customers to unlock multiple vehicles so that people can ride together. And for solo riders, a "reserve" feature gives them the freedom to put a hold on a scooter in advance so they won't have to worry about it being taken by someone else before they arrive. By maintaining a convenient process, both Lime and its customers can keep scooting along smoothly.

Focus on what customers want

Great customer care is about listening to feedback. Insights can lead to product or service improvements, and what's more, acting on feedback will make customers feel valued. These two brands get it right.

Calm

Named by Fast Company as one of 2021's most innovative companies, Calm is a meditation app that regularly applies customer feedback to create new features and content to meet users' wellness needs, such as teaming up with celebrities like Kate Winslet to read calming bedtime stories. In fact, when Calm's user data indicated that usage spiked before bed, the company launched "Sleep Stories" to meet customer needs. The change also contributed to a boost in sales, with revenue in the first quarter of 2021 totaling $23.2 million, up from $19.7 million the year prior according to Statista.

Stitch Fix

When the online personal styling company, Stitch Fix, rolled out its "Fix Preview" service to its entire U.K. client base and to more than half its U.S. clients, customers reacted positively. In fact, around three-quarters of clients opted in, resulting in higher average order values. Fix Preview, which allows users to accept or reject items before they are shipped out, gives customers more choice and control over their purchases. In the third quarter of 2021, the company published its fiscal year 2021 financial results. Stitch Fix delivered $536 million in net revenue — reflecting 44% year-over-year growth — and grew its active client count to more than 4.1 million — 20% year-over-year growth.

An effortless experience

The easier a product or service is to use, the more likely a customer is to continue with it. Look for ways to reduce friction to improve the customer experience.

Netflix

Netflix makes it easy for users to keep watching their favorite shows with its autoplay feature, which automatically starts the next episode after one ends. In addition, Netflix offers helpful suggestions with its recommender algorithm to help match customers with shows they'd be interested in, based on what they've already seen. These strategies save viewers time and contribute to a seamless experience. Strategies like these are paying off for the streaming giant. According to Statista, Netflix's subscriber base is six times bigger than what it was in 2003, which has contributed to revenue growth that continues to surpass estimates.

Buffer

This social media management platform has a public-facing help center, suggested articles within ticket forms and in-app product education resources to help inform its 65,000 users. By removing friction, Buffer continues to record annual revenue of over $20 million.

In conversation with TELUS International, Hannah Voice, head of Buffer's customer support operations, explained, "During quieter times, we'll have extra emphasis on identifying opportunities for customers to get more value from Buffer, outside of just answering the specific question they wrote in about."

Voice says that Buffer likes to keep a customer's tickets with the same teammate as much as possible so customers receive a consistent support experience. However, given customers will sometimes get a faster reply if another agent assists, the company has "Assigned Surfers" who can jump in and get back to the customer more quickly.

Give a few things away for free

This might seem counter-intuitive, but giving people a taste of what they could get as a paying customer is a great way to drive revenue. Who doesn't love free stuff?

Coursera

This online learning provider occasionally makes its courses and some certificate programs free to everyone, and it's paying off. Last year, over 21 million learners joined Coursera, a 353% increase. Similarly, during that time, there were more than 50 million course enrollments on Coursera, a 444% increase from the year prior. As was the case for Uber Eats, the pandemic caused societal changes that Coursera was quick to recognize. When the budgets of potential customers shrunk, Coursera responded with free content — a move that enhanced loyalty and strengthened their brand.

To improve revenue, put your customers first

If you want to increase revenue, start with your customer experience. Providing a consistent experience across all touchpoints gives customers the confidence and freedom to interact with your brand according to their own preferences. And when that experience is customer-centric and painless, they're likely to return again and again.

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