It turns out, companies that performed worse on the American Customer Satisfaction Index actually performed better in terms of stock market performance. Can you believe it?

True, it was an anomaly in 2013, but it happened. Historically, though, companies with higher customer satisfaction ratings actually outperform those with lower customer satisfaction in the stock market. But how could something like this happen?

It’s helpful to first understand the business value of the customer experience. It’s simple, really: when customers have a good experience, they buy more, which ultimately increases revenue.

In our recent webinar, “Preventing the Accidental Customer Experience,” customer experience expert Kerry Bodine (@kerrybodine) shared some interesting facts:

  • 81% of consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience (about a 5% premium).
  • 70% have stopped buying goods or services from a company after experiencing poor customer service.
  • 64% have made future purchases from a company’s competitors after experiencing poor customer service.

Most companies today understand the connection between the customer experience and customer loyalty and spend a lot of time trying to create a brand people will identify with, Bodine says.  [WHITE PAPER: Ask the Customer Experience Experts]

She used the example of the airlines, which have launched a number of recent campaigns that make this promise from United’s, “Flying the friendly skies,” to Delta’s, “Flying is more than just a flight: Delta continues to elevate the flying experience.”

Yet, these marketing promises often fall short, as there is a disconnect between promises made and the frontline service reps of the organization. Bodine shared a recent experience her husband had with Delta.

He was taking a trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco. It was the last flight of the day, and though there had been lots of flights cancelled for bad weather, his flight was cancelled for mechanical reasons. He was not offered another flight that night, nor a complementary hotel room, and the best they could offer was a flight the next day that went to Sacramento, Salt Lake City, and then finally back to San Francisco.

Definitely not living up to Delta’s promise of “elevating the flying experience.”

Bodine then hopped on Twitter and tweeted to Delta Assist, who promised to be “listening around the clock, seven days a week.” She tweeted, “2 AM, husband’s LAX->SFO cancelled b/c of broken plane. No hotel & rather than put him on SWA/UA direct, 3 connections tomorrow!”

No response. So, 10 hours later, she tweeted again. Over two hours later, Delta finally responded with, “Thank you for your patience, we have had EXTREMELY high call and twitter traffic due to the weather conditions across the U.S. How may I assist?”

Though Delta had spent so much time and investment making the promise of an outstanding customer experience, they had really left the customer experience to chance. In this example, despite the bad weather, they didn’t have a plan to staff up to handle the increased call and Twitter volume.

Unfortunately, says Bodine, this type of thing happens all the time. Companies make promises but fail to follow-up on these promises – and it’s often the contact center that feels the brunt.

So many times, the contact center is viewed as a cost center rather than a strategic arm of the business, keeping the promises – both implicitly and explicitly – made by marketing organizations.

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, says in his book, Delivering Happiness, “Our belief is that the telephone is one of the best branding devices out here.”

How can you move from a reactive approach to customer satisfaction to proactively creating an outstanding customer experience that builds your brand and customer loyalty with every interaction? Click here to open the on-demand webinar, Preventing the Accidental Customer Experience.