Customer experience strategies have become increasingly important over the past few years as the landscape is dramatically changing. Companies are facing more complex customer issues as a result of customers’ increasingly higher expectations.

We have found that most companies are still struggling with getting the basics right: speed, personalization, cost, simplicity and having a complete solution – the transactional needs. To be competitive, companies must move beyond these needs. Elevating customer experience to the next level requires a deep knowledge of and engagement with your customers, and very few organizations have attained this level of customer experience management maturity.

Companies that have reached the highest maturity phase have incorporated customer experience into their DNA. These companies are customer centric in their behavior and practices and have empowered employees to continually improve the customer experience. These companies use customer experience as an innovation driver and continue to refine their strategy as they adapt to changing market conditions.

Strativity Group, Inc., a global, customer experience transformation firm based in the New York Metro Area, conducted the Customer Experience in Action Study in February and March of 2014.

Significant findings include:

  • Over 80% of Global Companies surveyed feel that Customer Strategies are more important to organizations now than ever, however…
  • 81% are not fully committed to executing Customer Experience strategies
  • Non-committed companies are 3X more likely to have greater customer attrition
  • Fully committed companies are 5X more likely to get higher referral rates
  • The majority of companies do not operate with economics driving their strategy:
    • 76% do not know their customer acquisition cost
    • 83% of executives don’t know the cost of a customer complaint

Companies are attempting to manage their customer relationships and experience without knowledge of key measurements and understanding the financial foundation. As such, they cannot fully understand the financial consequences of investing or not investing in the customer experience. This lack of financial knowledge is the root cause of the troubled state of customer experience commitment in many organizations.

CEM Maturity Assessment Model

In addition to the survey results, Strativity Group created the CEM Maturity Assessment Model. The model evaluates a company’s progress on the customer experience journey across the five core customer experience components (Strategy, Measurement, Employees, Customers, Organization) and then assigns the company to one of the six phases.

How Companies Can Transform their Customer Experience
In addition to understanding the financial impact of a fully customer-centric strategy – or lack thereof – companies must infuse customer centricity into organizational DNA, break down silos, change measurements and metrics, and adapt compensation plans.
More to the point, here are three actions companies can take right now to strengthen their customer experience strategy:

  1. Create a strong business case – Investing in the customer experience is a business strategy that needs to result in increased profitability. To ensure that a customer experience strategy will have long-lasting success, it must be grounded not merely in satisfaction and loyalty, but in a strong business case against which performance can be measured.
  2. Empower employees – Customer experience is ultimately a matter of performance. Design the performance of each employee to reflect the commitment to customer experience. All employees must share the same level of understanding, empowerment, and motivation to deliver exceptional customer experience.
  3. Integrate your customer experience and brand promise – A successful customer experience strategy must fulfill the brand promise made to customers. It is critical for there to be a single strategy against which a company executes. Rather than have a brand strategy and a customer experience strategy, there must be a single strategy that links the brand to the customer experience in a measurable way.

The gap is widening between those who adapt, and those who do not. The time is now for companies to take action in conceiving and executing transformative customer experience strategies.

Survey & Research Methodology
The 2014 Customer Experience in Action Study was conducted via an anonymous, online quantitative survey between February 5 and March 2, 2014. A total of 248 surveys were completed by executives from North, Central and South Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Respondents were not compensated for their participation in the study. Participating companies represent a wide range of sizes and business types.

For a complimentary CEM Maturity Assessment or more details about the Global Customer Experience Management Benchmark Study, email info@strativity.com or call 201-808-8500.

Ed MurphyEd Murphy
Ed has over 25 years of global experience, helping companies understand and communicate with their customers by providing actionable consumer insights. Ed has worked on a diverse mix of industries, including: Retail, Restaurant, Pharmaceutical, Consumer Goods, Communications, Gaming, Beverages, Tobacco, Travel & Leisure, Media, and Financial Services. Prior to joining Strativity, Ed founded New Age Consumer Insights & Analytics and was Senior Vice President, US Retail and Restaurant Practice Head, at Synovate. For more information, visit http://www.strativity.com.

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