High-Quality Customer Experiences Equals Higher Stock Returns!

The CFI Group, an Ann Arbor, MI think tank focused on customer satisfaction and feedback analytics, occasionally releases research findings showing that the level of a publicly-traded company’s customer satisfaction directly correlates to the firm’s stock price. For one of its studies, the CFI Group managed and tracked a portfolio of stocks based on their performance in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) and the National Customer Satisfaction Index UK (NCSI-UK). The portfolio results were then compared to the benchmark S&P 500 in the case of U.S. companies and the FTSE 100 for firms in the United Kingdom.   

Overall, their research found that the top companies on the ACSI and NCSI-UK, which represented the ones with the highest customer satisfaction scores, significantly outperformed their competitors and the overall stock market.

Key conclusions from the report are highlighted below:

  • The ACSI portfolio of U.S. companies returned 390% vs. the S&P 500 return of -7% (from April 2000 to April 2012)
  • The NSCI portfolio of UK companies returned 59% vs. the FTSE 100 return of -6% (from April 2007 to June 2011)

As Claes Fornell, the CFI Group and ACSI founder and University of Michigan professor, states:

“Companies with highly satisfied customers generate superior returns because customer satisfaction is critical for repeat business, and that type of business is usually very profitable. That is, loyal customers tend to be highly profitable as long as their loyalty comes from their satisfaction and not because prices are low.”

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

On a related and more recent note, Watermark Consulting, a customer experience consultancy, analyzed the stock market performance of the Top 10 Leaders and Top 10 Laggards in Forrester Research’s Customer Experience Index compared to the broader S&P 500 Index from 2007 to 2017.  

Their significant findings include:

  • The total cumulative return of the Customer Experience Leaders portfolio was nearly three times higher than the Laggards (183.8% vs. 63.1%).
  • The total cumulative return of the Customer Experience Leaders portfolio was 45 points higher than the S&P 500 (183.8% vs. 138.7%).
  • The total cumulative return of the Customer Experience Laggards portfolio was almost 76 points lower than the S&P 500 (63.1% vs. 138.7%).

It’s indisputable that companies investing in improving their overall customer experience are being rewarded by not just their customers, but also their shareholders.

Not to be outdone, another study over an even longer time frame came to the same conclusion.  In this case, Fortune with the help of FTSE Russell, a global money manager and institutional consultant, discovered that companies named to the Fortune annual “Best Companies to Work For” list, typically “demonstrate stronger financial performance, reduced turnover, and better customer and patient satisfaction than their peers.”  

In fact, the outperformance is quite substantial when comparing the annual returns from 1998 to 2016:  

  • An equal weighted index of the top 100 companies to work for on the Fortune list returned 11.66% annually which was almost 5% higher than two other key benchmarks over the same stretch:
    • The Russell 3000 Index, a U.S. all cap benchmark, returned just 6.72%.  
    • The Russell 1000 Index, a U.S. large cap benchmark, returned only 6.68%.

It’s clear that companies with more satisfied customers tend to outperform the stock market, while companies with disloyal and frustrated customers typically underperform the broader stock market.

The first step to enhancing customer experience quality in order to boost customer satisfaction is to better understand the needs of one’s customers. 

It is safe to assume that the companies with high customer experience scores currently leverage a leading flexible and scalable CRM platform to track customer preferences, patterns, and purchasing history in order to:

  • Deliver more targeted messaging
  • Respond quicker to customer requests
  • Streamline customer interaction touchpoints
  • Improve client satisfaction levels
  • Consistently provide a better and unique customer experience

Customer experience leaders and pioneers have happier, trusting clients that are less sensitive to price and far easier to service. Their greater loyalty leads to more referrals, higher retention rates, and expansion of client wallet share. All of these benefits result in higher revenues, lower acquisition costs, increased earnings, and ultimately a boost in company stock prices.

To sum up, having a clear, effective customer experience strategy driven by highly engaged employees and a robust, centralized CRM system can transform your firm from a product-centric to a client-centric culture in route to elevating your customer service and outperforming not only your competition, but also the stock market overall.

Ready to innovate your employee and customer experience and improve your financial performance?   

CONTACT US today to speak with one of our customer experience strategists and profit acceleration advisors about how we can take your business or practice to the next level.

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