Customer Experience Paralysis (and How to Stop it)

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A poor customer experience can severely impact a company’s bottom line. Here’s where the breakdowns happen.

Creating a personalized experience that meets, and ideally exceeds, customer expectations is every brand’s dream. Unfortunately, most fall short, and unmet expectations hit brands where it matters most: the bottom line. In fact, poor customer service alone costs brands upward of $62 billion per year, and that’s just one area where brands are at risk.

Survey data from the recent Success in the Experience Era: Connecting Customer and C-suite report by Calabrio indicates that a poor customer experience is due to a lack of internal alignment and an influx of marketing technology, which has led to a disconnected customer journey. Rather than remain idle, it’s important to face these issues head on. Otherwise, customer experience paralysis becomes a reality.

Here are the top three reasons for customer experience paralysis and how companies can shift gears to surprise and delight customers, instead of letting them down. 

Confusion at the C-level

According to the report, 30 percent of respondents stated that there is confusion around who within the C-suite owns the customer experience. While every person within the organization is responsible on some level, it is important to have an executive who is accountable for driving strategy and ensuring that the customer experience stays on course. If there is no internal position that can take on the challenge, appointing a chief customer officer (CCO) may be the answer. At least 25 percent of Fortune 100 companies have hired a CCO for that reason.

Technology overload

Marketing technology development is in overdrive. The number of technology options has increased 40 percent over the last year, and there are now more than 5,000 solutions from nearly 5,000 different companies. However, according to the Calabrio report, almost half (47 percent) of CMOs still feel that they don’t have the right tools deployed to understand customers’ greatest challenges, and that lack of deployment is likely due to the fact that 56 percent of marketing executives are waiting for the technology to improve. That continued wait is detrimental, but the reality is that the technology landscape is both complex and broad. As a result, CMOs simply don’t have time to manage the massive amount of technology currently on their plates, let alone research the ever-growing list of options.

However, in the midst of that waiting, many brands don’t have the right analytics strategies in place, which means they aren’t capturing the voice of the customer. According to the recent Dimension Data Customer Experience Benchmarking Report, 58 percent of brands say the primary benefit of contact center analytics is to improve the customer journey, though nearly half the survey respondents don’t use the insights gleaned from the contact center. Effectively utilizing analytics is the groundwork for more advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence. When brands have mastered the basics, they see a greater return on the technology they deploy.

Connectivity breakdowns 

A great customer experience is a connected one, yet many companies aren’t automating the customer journey. Today, there are nine channels customers can use to communicate with brands, and, according to Dimension Data’s report, that’s expected to grow to 11 channels by 2018. Unfortunately, only a dismal 8 percent of brands have connected every channel, and this lack of integration causes digital interactions to feel highly disjointed.

If companies can’t connect the customer journey with solid omnichannel strategies, they’ll miss valuable opportunities to earn repeat business. In fact, in a recent survey of retail customers, 64 percent said that a consistent experience, regardless of channel, was what differentiated their favorite brand from the others, and 40 percent said they’re likely to buy more often from their favorite brands.

Often there is no cohesive technology or process to integrate every channel, but, with the cloud now reaching maturity, there are a number of solutions available that both play well with others and allow brands to connect that journey across all channels. With the right strategy in place, brands can deploy solutions to collect and use that customer data to deliver worthwhile customer experiences.

If brands address these areas of greatest concern and move past the paralysis stage, even with incremental action, they will be in much better positions to give customers the experiences they want. After all, hedging against customer disappointment and lost revenue is a process, and while that process may start slow, taking the first step is the most the important part. 

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