Organizations Changing Customer Experience Priorities
Organizations are increasingly offering a superior customer experience that not only covers all the fundamental elements of customer focus, but also stands out from the rest. What’s more, many of them are changing their customer experience priorities based on customer needs, according to a recent survey by Gartner.
Nick Inglebrecht, research director at Gartner states, “There is no silver bullet that will, by itself, improve the overall experience. But the combination of projects, if implemented well, can cumulatively contribute to the improvement of an organization’s customer experiences.”
The survey found that organizations implemented an average of 5.7 customer experience projects during 2014, with the biggest focus on programs to improve the collection and analysis of customer feedback and “opening up” the organization. When presented with a list of 16 generic customer experience improvement projects conducted during 2014, the most frequently cited projects were those associated with collecting and analyzing customer feedback and communicating actions to employees and customers (capturing the voice of the customer) followed by reconfiguring customer process.
Third was activating self-service and tools to select, order, track and stop product purchases. The least-cited projects were standardizing approaches to segmentation and honoring data privacy and focusing on the benefits of building trust, rather than just the legal risks and mapping customer journeys.
More than one-third of survey participants said their customer experience improvement projects during 2014 involved significant changes of their business models. The majority of business model changes mentioned by the participants involved changes to the process around the production of products and services, including supply chain and internal processes. In one-third of cases, the business model changes related to changes in the way the customer interacts with the organization.
“Not all business model changes are of equal significance, but there appears to be a recognition among the more mature organizations that customer experience projects span organizational boundaries and fundamentally affect the way the organization operates,” said Ingelbrecht. “As a result, Gartner predicts that by 2018, more than 50 percent of organizations will implement significant business model changes in their efforts to improve customer experience.”
Survey participants also provided a perspective on their 2015 plans for customer experience improvement projects. This year, their strategic focus has changed somewhat. The leading customer experience priorities for 2015 are projects aimed at improving consistency across channels and acting as “one” unified organization. Improving customer satisfaction is still important in 2015, but there is increased focus this year on driving customer loyalty and driving advocacy.
“There are perhaps signs of a realization here that customer experience is more than just customer satisfaction; you actually have to drive word-of-mouth recommendations and give your existing customers more reasons to keep coming back to you,” said Ingelbrecht.
The top three projects planned for 2015 are self-service customer experience projects, multichannel orchestration activities, and, as in 2014, collecting and analyzing customer feedback. Honoring data privacy gets even less attention in 2015 than last year and standardizing approaches segmentation also continues to register quite low in the list of projects planned for 2015.
Multichannel consistency is the number one focus for 2015, up from the seventh position in the 2014 project list. The top-ranked voice of the customer projects of 2014 has slipped to third place in 2015, while customer metrics stayed the same.
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