When it comes to customer experience (CX), most companies are all talk and no action, according to new research from Dimension Data, a global IT services and solutions provider.
Its 2017 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report found that while majority of organizations in Canada (71 per cent) believe that CX is the top measure of strategic performance and a key competitive differentiator (76 per cent), only seven per cent would rate their CX delivery a nine out of 10, and one in three don’t have a manager solely responsible for CX at all.
The report, published Apr. 4, surveyed 1,351 organizations across industries in 80 countries, and discovered that more than half globally don’t even have a digital business strategy – or at best, are in the process of developing one.
The report explains that this disorganization has led to disjointed CX solutions across the board, which often fail to meet user requirements, and as a result, traditional interactions and costs are not being replaced at the speed companies desire and want.
The “digital dilemma” is expanding, and businesses need to choose a path between digital crisis or redemption, says Joe Manuele, Dimension Data’s group executive for CX and collaboration, in the report.
“The world has formed a digital skin, and business, service, technology and commercial models have changed forever,” he continued. “However, organizations are strategically challenged to keep pace with customer behavior.”
But improving CX is the top factor driving digital transformation for businesses, with Canadian companies reporting that it has led to increased customer loyalty (92 per cent), a rise in revenue (86 per cent), increased employee engagement (82 per cent), and cost savings (77 per cent).
“Pioneers of the digital age have reimagined business models and processes that have changed customer behavior, and the choices organizations make with their CX and digital strategies will define their future success,” Manuele says.
Currently, customers have nine ways, on average, of interacting with an organization (telephone, email, website, social media, etc.) – but this number will rise to 11 by 2018, the report predicts. It also forecasts that the use of virtual assistants will more than double in 2017 and fully-automated interactions will rise by 68 per cent as a result.
To improve how they interact, organizations need understand the customer journey and personalize it. At the moment, however, more than half can’t track customer interactions at all across channels.
Analyze or die
Customer analytics was ranked the most important factor for positive improvement going forward in the next five years, the report found, but only 39 per cent of companies actually have customer analytic systems. Half of respondents say that their current analytics systems are failing to meet current needs.
While usage of big data analytics has grown by 89 per cent – a good sign towards digital transformation – this still falls far below expectations based on current capabilities, the study adds.
Rise of the machines
Automated services, such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, are “creating a new reality, demanding a new approach,” the report says. The increased availability of such capabilities has led to a drop of 30 per cent in phone volumes, with more than half expecting volumes to drop even further heading into 2018.
Customer experience is the top driver of digital transformation, and with customers demanding more digital choices, the report forecasts increased adoption of automated services.