Seven key areas that help to build a sustainable business and create happy customers
While customer experience (CX) is still seen as the top strategic measure of business performance, there’s a gap between where organisations think they are, and what customers actually experience. That’s according to latest findings in Dimension Data’s 2019 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report, which we believe point to the importance of human interactions – supported by technology – to deliver an optimised CX.
Here are some of the Report highlights, from Merchant’s perspective:
Mind the gap
With pressure on budgets, organisations are focused on seven key areas, before they’re able to show a return on any CX investment:
CX transformation and loyalty
With nearly 9 out of ten organisations agreeing that CX is directly linked to commercial success, a gap remains when it comes to design and implementation. While there is growth in collaboration across the business, board level accountability is lacking. Embracing change across the organisation depends on a well-designed CX strategy, that’s more about driving customer loyalty and less about old ways of working.
Connected CX journeys
For the first time in five years, there’s a drop in the average number of customer channels. Inconsistent data formats and CX delivery have urged organisations to take a step back – to better understand each user channel and get a business-wide view of their customer journey.
While we see a big increase in the development and implementation of digital strategies, customer uptake is well below target. CX and customer demand are driving digital transformation, but customers are still unaware that digital channels exist. With cost and legacy IT systems in the mix, businesses need a well-designed strategy and cohesive approach.
Robotics and AI
Service automation is set to be a major focus for organisations over the next two years. That said, concerns around costs, cybersecurity and customer acceptance are holding back development. This is where CX teams need to use data analytics to build the business case for automation, to remove routine tasks and support human agents to focus on service.
For the fourth year in a row, analytics is still the top factor to reshape CX and is being optimised to help organisations get a single view of the customer. To unlock truly personalised CX, businesses will need to turn big data into customer and market intelligence, and track customer journeys and sales conversions across all channels.
CX teams rank analytics, self-service and omni-channel integration as their Top 3 Technology priorities. As business and technology strategies align to drive analytics, there’s a worrying drop in CX team involvement in the design of their own technology solutions. With self-service a priority, workplace productivity and agent analytics need attention as human agent queries become more complex over time.
Employee engagement and workforce optimisation
As more routine tasks are performed by digital channels, human agents are now being enabled to focus on more complex queries. Recognised as change makers in the customer experience, there’s a move to multi-skilling agents and adopting new working practices. At the same time, while automation and AI have the potential to improve employee experience, regular CX process reviews are needed, to help target agent efforts where they’re needed most. That’s where cultural and workforce optimisation is critical to driving productivity and staying relevant to customers.
Build a bridge
While there are many examples of effective digital applications, the Report findings confirm that digital solutions are not an effective replacement for human interaction. True CX transformation depends on bridging the gap between strategy and operations, investment and implementation and most importantly between people. Getting this right means looking at:
- Demonstrating the improvement in customer satisfaction and loyalty to prove ROI.
- Finding a way to get a single view of the CX journey across all channels.
- Regular reviews of processes and more measurement.
- Aligning all CX stakeholders and key IT teams for buy-in to a single CX strategy.
Close the gap
There are three critical success factors to closing the gap between CX ambition and customer-focused change: CX strategy, your target operating model and technology enablement. By looking at top-performing organisations, the Report confirms our belief that the steps to success depend on a powerful combination of empowered agents and technology:
- Customer analytics – a recurring theme in this year’s Report, data that’s transformed into market intelligence will support more personalisation, but cross-channel tracking is a must.
- Connected CX journeys – while less than one in 10 organisations are enjoying full omnichannel reality, consistency across all strategies is vital for meaningful progress.
- Robotics and AI – while cost, security and customer feedback are concerns, automation can help drive productivity and CX – and it’s why a clear business case is essential to mapping out the benefits and risks.
- Employee experience and workforce optimisation – as organisations recognise the importance of their human agents as change makers –most organisations are now open to employee-centric operating models.