Rallying Cry Needed to Beat Customer Experience Slump
Research reveals Customer Experience ‘evolution and revolution’ is key to driving change
The gap between CX Leaders and Laggards is widening according to the newly published State of Customer Experience 2019 report. Many Customer Experience teams are struggling to prove the value of their programs, and investment is being threatened. The results of the survey indicate that in order to reverse the trend, practitioners need to embrace both CX evolution and CX revolution.
In one of the largest global surveys of its kind, over 800 CX professionals from around the world were surveyed by Confirmit in partnership with Engage Business Media for the third year in a row. The number of CX Leaders – programs who are receiving significantly increased investment as a result of delivering financial, cultural, and operational value – has declined. Other markers have dropped back to 2017 levels. The 2018 survey urged CX professionals to focus on the five habits demonstrated by CX Leaders but many of the issues highlighted haven’t been resolved.
“The truth is that CX is hard,” explains Claire Sporton, SVP of CX Innovation at Confirmit. “Driving real business change based on customer insight is a real challenge. It takes serious planning, requires a range of diverse skills, and needs evidence of financial success.”
“We all know that CX programs are never ‘finished’ but we need to recognize when change is needed to keep moving forward. We need to know when continuing on an evolutionary path is the right answer or if it’s time for a revolution!” Sporton added.
Most respondents (67%) felt that evolution is right for them but a quarter (26%) are ready for a revolution. Leaders said their programs were most in need of a revolution, suggesting that they are always asking ‘what’s next?’
The study identified three key issues that need to be addressed which could provide CX professionals with the catalysts for change needed in 2020.
One Rallying Cry: Data silos that have dogged CX since its inception are still causing huge problems. Organizational silos are not helping either. Technology is part of the solution and Leaders are much more likely to be integrating operational and financial data into their program. However, over two thirds don’t actually do this, and Laggards are further behind. The reason for this is lack of executive commitment, lack of IT priority, and mapping issues – but none of these issues should be terminal.
Communicating CX goals and achievements should also be a top priority but the figure for internal communications strategies is going backwards, with the number of companies that have an internal communication strategy in place now below 2017 levels (65% down from 73%).
Focus on decision making: Data collection, analysis, and simplification drives smarter decision making but more than half of the executive teams surveyed are taking decisions without considering customer insight, even in businesses who have invested in CX.
Too few companies are empowering teams around the business to make decisions that are informed by customer insight – particularly for middle managers and frontline teams. Only 12% of middle managers and 6% of frontline staff amongst Laggards are using customer insights to make decisions. The figure for middle managers amongst Leaders rises to 22%, which suggests they are more able to make better decisions within their area of expertise, leading to better business outcomes.
Prove your worth: CX teams are not making the critical link between insight-based decisions and actual business value. There has been a reduction in the number of people surveyed saying senior stakeholders are invested in CX goals and a reduction in demonstrable ROI. In both cases, the numbers are now below 2017 levels.
That said, Leaders are more than twice as likely to demonstrate ROI as Laggards (34% vs. 14%). They are more than twice as likely to have invested in CX initiatives to address key markers for CX ROI – reduce complaints (42%), customer churn (40%), to increase spend (39%), and attract new customers (38%). To secure more investment, CX professionals need to know what decisions they are enabling and map them back to reduced costs, increased revenue and retention, and improved employee engagement.
“The results of the survey suggest that there is a huge opportunity for CX teams to evolve, grow, and drive business change,” concluded Sporton. “The success of CX initiatives can be boosted and our ability to prove that success can be improved. It’s time to be bold, embrace the catalysts for change, and shift from ‘measuring reality’ to ‘changing reality.’”