While good products and prices are important, the customer experience is what matters most. Overwhelmingly, customers say they’re more likely to purchase products or services based on positive customer experiences. The reverse also holds true; bad customer experiences have a swift and negative impact on sales and customer loyalty.

Retailers have their work cut out for them, however, as many consumers have rising expectations for retail experiences that are increasingly personal. So, retailers must look to deliver better, richer customer experiences in the future. They must also ensure a positive customer experience is part of their culture as they may not get a second chance to win back dissatisfied customers.

Retailers should take social media seriously as being their brand’s ambassador. Online and social media reviews are nearly twice as influential as brand advertising when making a purchase decision. Customers also have high expectations for customer service on social media, with many expecting companies to respond to their online reviews within less than 24 hours.

Retailers must respond quickly when problems arise. Most customers expect a quick response from companies after a complaint. Responding to a customer complaint after several days or with an auto reply and a vague promise of a resolution simply won’t cut it. Those customers who feel that companies aren’t meeting them halfway in their efforts to resolve a problem are more likely to share that negative experience with friends/peers, and more likely to stop buying from that company.

Treat each customer as a unique individual, not a number. Customers now expect online retailers to give them the option to chat with a live agent or a bot, and they will expect agents to be instantly familiar with their contact history. Consumers expect the same treatment regardless of the channel and they want the same level of service from a company regardless of whether they’re shopping online or in-store.

Does investing more money in customer experiences seems counterintuitive in a digital age and are customers willing to pay more money for a better customer experience? Or is it just the normal level of service that is just expected today?  Clearly, the customer experience has become the new tipping point for customer loyalty and profitability. Today’s customer knows they can get the same (or similar) product from someone else at the same (or similar) price. What they want, more than a good price, is a good experience.