Companies With Agile and Collaborative Customer Experience Programs Say They Demonstrated Financial Growth During Pandemic, Study Shows

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SurveyMonkey research shows that 89% of surveyed C-level executives say that they are extremely invested in CX, and 87% of professionals say that their organization finds customer feedback holds more importance now than before COVID-19

SurveyMonkey, a leader in agile software solutions for customer experience, market research, and survey feedback, today shared the findings from its new report that examines the current state of customer experience (CX). The research identifies how prioritizing CX can help companies in certain industries through the COVID-19 recovery, and position them for sustained long-term growth.

SurveyMonkey’s research indicates that some companies with collaborative and agile CX initiatives may be better equipped for success throughout the pandemic. Success in the survey was determined by respondents who say their companies experienced financial growth since the beginning of the pandemic, and identify that they are more likely to withstand an economic downturn. A majority (51%) of these successful companies are able to adapt to changing customer needs “very quickly,” compared to only 18% of companies that are seeing revenue decline, underscoring the importance of agile CX.

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CX has taken higher priority during the crisis. 87% of professionals say that their organization finds customer feedback holds more importance now than before COVID-19. Buy-in from executives also increased significantly, as 89% of the 305 C-level executives surveyed say that they are “extremely invested” in CX.

“Customer retention is the focus for many companies in 2020, but companies that are slow to act are being left behind,” said Christine Rimer, vice president of customer experience and advocacy at SurveyMonkey. “This research uncovers important areas in which CX programs need to improve in order to achieve a greater ROI in a time of need. It is crucial for the entire organization to adopt a customer-first attitude that is supported with actionable customer and operational data. The good news is that 54% of our survey respondents indicated that there has been an increased focus on CX programs from the C-suite since the pandemic began.”

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The study surveyed 1,777 professionals involved in the CX or Voice-of-the-Customer (VOC) programs at their organizations. Key findings of the report include:

  • CX in the new normal:
    • 80% say their organizations’ online interactions with customers have increased since COVID-19.
    • 60% of survey respondents have added additional customer touchpoints.
  • Collaboration is key in closing CX gaps and being successful:
    • Respondents who rate their companies as the most collaborative on CX insights are 67% more likely to say they have experienced financial growth since COVID-19, compared to those that collaborate infrequently or not at all.
    • 62% of C-level/presidents/owners say that there is significant collaboration across teams in regards to CX, compared to only 48% of directors and 38% of managers that agree.
  • Agile CX makes all the difference in sustaining long-term growth past the pandemic:
    • Successful companies are nearly three times more likely to say they are agile than those that have seen revenue decline since COVID-19.
    • Of the 64% of respondents who say their organizations haven’t been able to adapt very quickly to changing customer needs, nearly half (49%) say that “process” is the most significant barrier that’s slowing them down.
  • Businesses with strong CX programs report financial success:
    • Companies with no formal CX program had the lowest rate of financial growth (33%) according to respondents, while organizations with established (50%) and advanced (62%) CX programs were much more likely to experience growth according to respondents.
    • Companies that have seen revenue growth since COVID-19 are nearly 3x more likely to report seeing “very high” ROI from their CX initiatives, compared to companies that have seen financial decline.

As part of the report, SurveyMonkey spoke to leading organizations on the importance of agile customer experience solutions and how they have adapted during the pandemic.

“There’s nothing more important than remaining highly relevant to your customers, and that’s what listening to your customers is all about. At the beginning of COVID, it was about being empathetic and understanding their situation,” said Tony Rodoni EVP, customer experience at Salesforce. “Then it was, how can we change our solutions to fit what’s happening right now?’”

“COVID accelerated the desire and need to be really close to our customers,” said Chase Zenger, head of global scaled customer success at Box. “Since the pandemic, our executive team has been much more hands-on with a lot of our customers and joining calls more than normal. But surveys are a way to do that at scale, to get a pulse on our customers across our entire base.”

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