“The US Customer Experience Decision-Makers’ Guide” is based on surveys with 181 US organizations and 1,000+ interviews with US consumers. 

 

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Report key findings and contents

 

Key findings:

 

How Important is Customer Experience to Organizations?

 

Survey respondents were asked how their organization competed, ranking three factors in order of importance: quality, price and customer experience.

 

While it’s important not to draw too many conclusions from a single year’s data, there has been a move away from viewing customer experience as the key differentiator: both B2B  and B2C respondents are moving towards quality, (for the B2C sector, CX dropped from 53% – 1st place – in 2019 to 20% this year).

 

If some businesses are indeed moving their focus away from CX, this gives an opportunity for others to double-down on their customer experience strategy and lock in loyal customers for years to come, benefiting by the contrast between themselves and those organizations who have lost their CX concentration.

 

How has the Pandemic Affected Customer Experience?

 

26% of survey respondents reported that their CX was still not back to pre-pandemic levels.

 

The majority of these stated that staff attrition and absence were a problem for them, with reduced operating budgets also an issue.

 

4 in 5 contact center agents are still working remotely at the moment, and businesses expect that 63% of them will still be doing so in 2022 (including hybrid home/office working).

 

CX Budget, ROI & Investment

 

The primary purpose of CX improvements was said to be increasing customer retention rates.

 

37% of CX investment is being spent on technology, with 24% on business process improvements and 19% on employee training.

 

Digital channels take up 52% of CX investments, with telephony accounting for 30% and physical stores only 6%.

 

Survey respondents were asked how well their organization currently supported their customer experience programs. The results were not particularly positive, with over 40% of organizations stating that their CX technology and the amount of time available for CX improvements was either poor or average, and a similar proportion thinking that there were not enough employees dedicated to CX.

 

Technology and Customer Experience

 

The issue of legacy technology holding back customer experience is reported to be a major problem by 35% of survey respondents. While there has been a very significant move to cloud – supported recently by the need for remote working – it is clear that there is still a long way to go before businesses can fully develop their CX-supporting technology.

 

A unified agent desktop, web chat, and an omnichannel interaction hub are the technologies reported to have the greatest positive impact on CX.

 

In terms of new implementations, interaction analytics, web chat, AI, SMS and email management are singled-out in the short term, with gamification and especially RPA also receiving a very high level of attention considering their low current usage.

 

In the longer-term, AI, SMS, web chat and mobile customer contact solutions were seen by respondents as likely investments.

 

What Does CX Mean to a Customer?

 

First-contact resolution is clearly seen as being the most important factor impacting upon customer experience, with 45% of respondents ranking it in first place, and a further 37% placing it within the top three. A short wait time is also seen as being indicative of a positive customer experience.

 

Organizations surveyed for this report had a slight tendency to believe that their customer base would prefer to speak to a person rather than use automation, even if the outcome and effort were the same. However, when customers were asked the same question, it was found that they were much more strongly in favor of speaking to a human employee than businesses had believed, with 70% preferring human interaction and only 19% choosing automated self-service.

 

The report looked at which channels customers prefer to use, depending upon whether the issue is emotional, urgent or complex. High-emotion issues (including complaints) saw a high level of telephony, urgent issues were often handled by self-service or phone, and complex issues used phone and physical visits to the office or branch. It is clear that telephony remains a strong favorite channel amongst customers.

 

 

CX Benchmarking

 

Email (42%) and live agents (17%) were the most popular ways of gathering customer feedback.

 

On average, 11% of telephone calls received by a contact center were complaints, although 86% were not about the contact center itself (or its staff), but rather ‘failure demand’, caused by a breakdown of process elsewhere in the organization.

 

Only 9% of businesses do nothing when made aware that a customer is dissatisfied.

 

The average NPS score is 57. 64% of survey respondents report missing their target quality scores, and 74% have a lower customer satisfaction score than their target.

 

Survey respondents were asked to pick a single customer experience metric upon which their board or senior management team most judged the success or otherwise of the customer experience program. There was a wide mix of responses, with overall revenue, NPS and customer satisfaction score accounting for 65% of responses.

 

Interestingly, despite first-contact resolution rate being reported as the key to driving positive customer experience, only 4% of businesses stated that it was the CX metric considered most important by the senior management team.

 

CX Future Strategy

 

Survey respondents were asked their opinion on how important various customer experience developments would be to their organization in the next two years.

 

Perhaps the most striking finding was that the factor that was most often stated to be extremely important in determining the future success of the customer experience program was not technology-related, but an acknowledgment that the personalization of the customer experience had to improve. A greater use of analytics to understand and develop strategies and processes for personalizing interactions with huge numbers of customers will be key to this.

 

 

 

Report contents:

 

Introduction and Methodology

Supplier Directory

How Important is Customer Experience to Organizations?

  • How Do Organizations Compete?
  • CX Governance

How has the Pandemic Affected Customer Experience?

  • Changes in call volumes
  • Remote Working

CX Budget, ROI & Investment

  • Main Aims of the CX Improvement Program
  • CX Investment: People, Process, Technology
  • CX Investment: Channel Focus
  • Corporate Support for the CX Program

Technology

  • Current and Future Use of Customer Contact Technology
  • Effect of Technology on the Customer Experience
  • Are Technology Issues Holding Back Customer Experience?
  • Does CX Technology affect customer experience?
  • The Role of Analytics in Customer Experience
  • Current and Expected Usage of Video

What Does CX Mean to a Customer?

  • The View from the Business
  • The View from the Customer
  • First-Contact Resolution Rates & Customer Experience

Omnichannel and the Customer Experience

  • Live or Automation?
  • The View from the Business
  • The View from the Customer
  • Omnichannel: the consumer’s choice
  • High Emotion Interactions
  • High Urgency Interactions
  • High Complexity Interactions

CX Benchmarking

  • Customer Surveys
  • Employee Feedback
  • Complaint Analysis
  • Speech Analytics
  • Voice of the Customer Analytics
  • Mystery Shopping
  • The Use of CX Benchmarking Methods

CX Future Strategy

  • The Importance of CX Developments
  • Conclusion: CX Strategies

 

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