Bridging the Customer Experience gap
A new study from customer experience (CX) agency Zone and the global professional services firm, Cognizant, reveals that the customer experience (CX) gap is remains a lot wider than many CMOs would wish for.
The data highlights that with so many touchpoints accompanying customer journeys, across both digital and traditional channels, the challenge is becoming ever more complex. 690 senior client-side marketers were interviewed to produce these findings.
A standout insight is that marketers judge their brands’ CX performance more harshly than consumers do. For online CX marketers give their own brands an average score of 6.5/10 vs consumers’ 8/10.
Brand CX consistency is again ranked better by consumers than marketers, with 6.6/10 vs 8./10.
The survey reveals that only 15% of marketers surveyed consider their brand to deliver consumers the best-in-class online experience.
CX and Organisational culture
Marketing professionals are still facing organisational challenges in their drive to improve things for customers. Over one in four brand side marketers (28%) say their organisation (still) doesn’t see CX as integral to customer success.
Beyond this, just half of marketers (52%) say their company collaborates internally to deliver a joined up CX experience for customers. Furthermore, a quarter (24%) say their company isn’t united around overall CX goals. In today’s digital first world, this suggests that some companies still have work to do at an organisational level to improve the internal culture.
Commenting within the report, Mark Evans, Marketing Director at Direct Line Group said: “The reality is that that insurance and other multichannel service sectors like telecoms and utilities are complicated and messy. Making things easy is a defining mantra that keeps you honest. We have to imbue everyone in the brand promise – what would the fixer, Winston Wolf do? That’s the cultural layer over and above the quantifiable methodology.”
(An eagle-eyed Direct Line employee spotted a customer griping on social media that their stolen TV hadn’t been replaced and he would miss the boxing that evening. The Direct Line staffer promptly turned up at the customer’s home to loan him their own set for the big fight. This combines both smart social monitoring and customer service operations which delivered the customer a highly human, personal experience.)
Evans also commented: “Our customer metrics are reported all the way up to the board every month and it makes up part of everyone’s bonus, so it’s everyone’s problem.”
Content marketing and CX
Content marketing is an increasing part of the brand-side marketers remit. 60% of marketing professionals are confident in their content strategy relating to CX. However, only 12% of marketers say ‘Always-on content’ is simple to execute and 58% say delivering personalised content is a challenge.
Data and Insights
Despite marketing’s increasing reliance on data a third (31%) of marketers said organisational siloes prevented them accessing the data they need. A quarter (24%) say they lack the marketing analytics required for CX metric optimisation.
Only around half (54%) of companies said they had the technology needed to deliver great customer experiences. A quarter (23%) of organisations are hamstrung by legacy technology which stops them delivering better CX.
Just one in two (51%) organisations has the back-end tech capabilities required to produce brilliant customer experiences’
Margaret Jobling, Group Chief Marketing Officer, Centrica comments “There are companies like Amazon and John Lewis that people aspire to, but I’m most interested in the big financial institutions like Barclays that have modernised to better serve the customer.”
An effective strategy was identified by marketers as the top capability needed to improve CX, yet only one in five believe they are ‘excellent’ at doing so – representing the largest gap in the study
This gap is impacting negatively on business culture, with 73% of marketers identifying CX as crucial to their business, yet only 52% believe they collaborate effectively across the organisation to deliver excellent CX
Strategic failing are just part of the story. Siloed organisational structures, hidden data and technological failings are adding to the CX challenges facing brands
Many companies are organising themselves around ‘walled gardens’, with data hidden away in separate databases
Furthermore, just 54% of marketers believe they have the tech tools available to deliver excellent customer service and a mere 51% believe they have the back-end systems in place
Every interaction with a brand and a customer features design – yet only 46% of marketers surveyed believe they have the required UX capabilities to succeed. Just over half (53%) feel they are able to collaborate on website enhancements
One of the biggest mismatches between consumers and brands lies in not providing locally-relevant information. Consumers assign it a weighted importance score of 9%, compared to 4% for marketers
There is a similar mismatch when it comes to answering online queries. Despite being seen as the most important attribute by consumers (15%), marketers give it a below-average weighted score of only 8%
Jon Davie, Chief Client Officer at Zone, commented: “Customer experience resonates with people on a deep and highly emotional level. Our findings show that companies and organisations have woken up to this fact and know that outstanding CX is a powerful differentiator. This is where the rational (data, technology and platforms) blend seamlessly with the emotional (narrative, empathy, customer centricity). This is hugely challenging mission for companies.
“The findings clearly layout the key points to consider around delivering exceptional CX. CMOs and CIOs must collaborate more on strategy, technology and data to close the gap. Beyond this businesses with outstanding CX have made customer experience a whole organisational mission with clear leadership underlining this day in, day out.”