Brands cannot deny that customer experience, above all else, serves as the supreme differentiator within today's competitive ecosystem. However, many lack the organized leadership necessary to ensure that all CX initiatives generate the desired impact. Conversely, companies that depend upon C-level engagement continue to reap the benefits of customer experience success.
The Economist Intelligence Unit's recent "The Value of Experience" report explores how the C-Suite values customer experience in today's digital age. Sponsored by Genesys, researchers surveyed 516 senior-level executives throughout 21 countries to examine the impact of customer experience efforts and leadership on business performance as companies actively transition toward remote communication. Overall, results show that, when led by C-Suite executive, CX initiatives can increase profitability, revenue, and customer satisfaction, while also reducing operational costs, as 35 percent of respondents claim improved customer retention has been the biggest benefit from their efforts thus far.
The following statistics validate that C-level engagement drives competitive advantage, thus reinforcing the value of CX investment with regard to sustainable differentiation:
- Overall, 64 percent of executives who prioritize CX investments believe their organization is more profitable than their competitors, as 63 percent feel they offer more positive experiences and 59 percent think they have better revenue growth.
- While 56 percent of companies that value CX investment plan to increase spend by more than 10 percent over the next three years, only 15 percent of businesses that consider CX less important expect to make similar investments.
- Latin American respondents are especially dedicated to customer experience, for 71 percent feel CX is a "very important" investment priority, as compared to 55 percent in North America. Thirty-five percent of Latin American companies expect CX spend will increase by another 25 percent in the next three years, as compared to only 11 percent in North America and 17 percent in Europe.
- CEOs (41 percent) are most likely to lead CX initiatives, as opposed to CMOs (17 percent) or CIOs (13 percent). Of those companies that claim they are more profitable than their competitors, 58 percent report that their CEO is in charge of customer experience, while only 37 percent of less profitable brands can say the same.
- Thirty-four percent of companies don't measure the success of their CX initiatives, yet 57 percent still classify CX as a "very important" investment priority, while brands with CEO-led CX initiatives (65 percent) are more likely to measure success.
- Organizations typically fail to measure CX success because they lack access to the correlated CX outcome to activity data (37 percent) and automation of processes (33 percent), while many still possess inefficient communication tools (23 percent). Conversely, those brands that measure CX success focus on customer retention rate (46 percent) and satisfaction scores (45 percent).
- While face-to-face communication (45 percent) remains the most vital CX channel, respondents believe online assistance support (39 percent) will become the most crucial CX channel in three years. Respondents, however, emphasize that the importance of social media will likely grow-from 27 percent to 35 percent-within the next three years.
Key takeaway: Before customer experience can flourish, leaders must establish enterprisewide buy-in, as 66 percent of respondents believe CX is more important than their organization realizes. Thus, while many brands reap great benefits from putting their CEOs at the helm of these CX initiatives, efforts must become part of their companies' total internal culture. Most importantly, companies must make CX their top priority in order to enjoy the same benefits as their more successful counterparts. Businesses that put their CEOs in charge of CX tend to experience strong profitability, but many fail to measure the quantitative impact of such initiatives, which impairs their ability to reassess and realign strategies according to their customers' behavioral response. Leaders may look to industry peers for further guidance, but CX success ultimately depends upon what resonates with the brand's audience. Organizations can no longer assume that their customers view the company in a positive light. Instead, all departments must actively listen to sentiment and close any gaps that arise to ensure that customers remain satisfied.