Gone are the days of the single customer touchpoint. For companies to excel in engaging with customers at the right time, right place, they can no longer only be where the customer is in any given moment; they must be present across all channels, ready to respond no matter where the buyer's journey may take their prospects. Yet, while many brands understand the need to optimize the omnichannel customer experience while meeting the increasing desire for personalized, real-time interactions, few have the necessary strategies, support, processes, and metrics for success in place.

According to Harvard Business Review Analytic Services' recent "Lessons from the Leading Edge of Customer Experience Management" report, only 45 percent of companies view customer experience management as an important strategic priority. However, the study, sponsored by SAS, explores how leaders in the space currently outperform their laggard counterparts across all essential KPIs (i.e. profitability, revenue generation, market share, etc.) in their pursuit of improved customer experience management. Having polled 403 executives, the report reveals that, while 71 percent of leaders believe customer experience enhances their competitive advantage, only 35 percent of laggards feel the same, demonstrating these two drastically different mindsets.

The following statistics examine the obstacles facing all companies grappling with customer experience initiatives, and how the leading edge attitude helps proactive companies achieve their goals: