A new report from CX Network has taken a deep dive into the biggest trends, challenges and investment considerations according to today’s customer experience specialists.
Customer experience is increasingly becoming the key focus for international businesses in the omnichannel era. As the report highlights in its introduction:
“By 2020 it is expected that customer experience will be more important to customers than price or product.”
Martech is clearly integral to strategizing and implementing successful customer experiences. But as the report helps illustrate, winning at CX is not a simple case of investing in tech. Rather, strategies need to be laid out, priorities need to be reshaped, business culture needs to change, staff need to have the support to adapt, and tools need to be integrated correctly.
Top CX trends are tech-related
The Global State of Customer Experience 2019 surveys the opinions of practitioners, solution providers and industry commentators respectively. When it comes to highlighting the top trends in CX, each of these groups have a fairly similar take on how things are evolving in the sector.
Martech certainly underpins many of these most significant trends. Data and analytics is the leading trend among practitioners and industry commentators, as well as being the second most important trend according to solution providers.
Artificial intelligence/chatbots and omnichannel (channel integration) also stand out across these CX specialist subgroups.
Businesses are clearly looking to technologies which can collect data across the great many channels through which customers interact today. From here, they are increasingly using this data to create a single customer view, to then ensure that their customers are having an efficient, seamless and satisfying journey going forward.
While marketing technologies such as analytics are helping improve CX, businesses do face significant challenges.
Practitioners and solution providers cite ‘building a customer-first culture’ as a top challenge most frequently. New tools and martech can assist this business culture shift from business-first to customer-first. But if staff, departments and leaders can’t let go of the traditional mindset, then businesses can’t mature.
Another challenge arises when businesses seek to link their CX initiatives to ROI – highlighting continued gaps in the analytical understanding of omnichannel customers. Unsurprisingly, siloed customer data is also prominent across all groups. This makes it difficult for marketers to achieve the single customer view, meaning that they can’t have a comprehensive understanding of their journeys and requirements.
Focus on channel integration
The report also goes into some detail as to the progress being made with channel integration.
Currently, only 7% of respondents say they have an omnichannel model – that is, they are providing ‘consistent and seamless movement from one touchpoint to the next.’ 34% expect to see their business mature from multi-channel to omnichannel in 2019.
Increasingly, customers are expecting an omnichannel experience. For businesses who aren’t there yet, they have two choices: 1) keep up, or 2) leave it to their competitors who are providing this integrated, seamless experience.
The tools and technologies are available, but business culture is holding some organizations back
The Global State of Customer Experience 2019 highlights just how exciting the CX arena is at a time when there is so much martech available to help businesses give their customers the best, integrated and seamless experience they can.
But while many organizations are confident in their abilities to deliver satisfactory multi-channel experiences, it is clear that there are still a number of barriers to omnichannel maturity.
Hurdles such as siloed customer data do exist, but challenges such as this seem like small battles compared to the bigger task of changing the culture within organizations from business-first to customer-first.
This, it seems, is where businesses are struggling. It is not access to martech which separates the winners and the losers in CX today, but rather the ability for organizations to be able to change their mindset across all levels of the business to strategize and operate in a customer-first way. From here, the path to ensuring that the correct tools are being invested in and that customers are having the best, integrated, omnichannel experience they can seems much easier to travel.