Improving CX strategies: Get the balance right between technological and staff investment

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

Get the customer experience right, and the rest will follow, according to a new report from Engage Hub.

The study, put together alongside Sapio Research and which polled 100 UK-based customer engagement decision makers, argued organisations see customer experience as more important than even profit and revenue growth going forward. 36% of those polled said CX was the top business objective, compared with 34% for net profit and revenue growth, followed by 24% for staff development and 23% for cost reduction.

Four in five (78%) respondents said their organisation had increased budgets to improve the customer experience. And why not? As the report notes, “we have entered the age of the customer-centric organisation, with many recognising that getting this right makes profit and growth self-fulfilling prophecies.”

There continue to be some divides, however. Respondents were split as to who owned the customer experience operations, with the CMO (42%) and CTO (42%) proving most popular, ahead of the CIO (33%). Naturally, these figures suggest more than one person holds the keys to the castle – yet only 6% of those polled said they had separate CX teams.

Similarly, there is something of a disconnect when it came to CX measurement tools. Many organisations appear to prefer more old-school routes; 47% of those polled measured good CX by the time taken to resolve problems, while number of complaints (46%), task completion rate (46%) and customer touchpoint analysis (42%) were also heavily cited. This makes for an interesting comparison against Net Promoter Scores and CSAT (customer satisfaction surveys), cited by 22% and 19% respectively.

“Those less commonly used metrics have been touted as the gold standard in customer experience analysis. Yet it is perhaps the snapshot in time they provide – a customer’s opinion at a particular moment, taken after what may have been a particularly good or bad experience – that makes them a less reliable metric than factual trend data gathered over weeks, months and years,” the report notes.

Part of the task is to ease the burden from CX professionals, whether it comes from the marketing or the technical team. 87% of those polled said making routine customer enquiries self-serve was a priority. The technologies required to make this happen, such as big data analytics and artificial intelligence, were also seen as important – but the report noted that APIs, which are needed to join the dots, were less of a priority.

Technological investment will only make organisations stronger if used correctly – but what about staff investment? “Lower down on the list of priorities was staff development,” the repot noted. “It’s clear that one cannot happen without the other – and every organisation needs to draw a stronger connection between employee and customer engagement.”

Ultimately, various streams of data remain which measure CX, from inbound calls to user generated content – and the job now is to get it all together for a unified analysis. “The research makes it clear that businesses do understand the need to connect together disparate data and business systems to deliver a connected customer experience,” said Nicola Pero, CTO at Engage Hub.

“We expect centralised CX teams, responsible for improving the customer experience, will emerge as a dedicated business unit within businesses, as well as new heads of customer experience – a chief experience officer or chief engagement officer – taking up the fight to keep organisations customer-centric.”

You can read the full report here (email required).

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