Organizations around the world are failing to implement effective digital customer experience (CX) strategies, according to new research from Dimension Data, the global IT services and solutions provider. In fact, just one in 10 organizations (9.5%) considers their digital business strategy to be optimized, leading to disjointed CX solutions. As digital and automated channels fail to meet user needs, digital is not displacing traditional phone interactions – or reducing cost obstacles – at the speed companies desire.
That’s all according to Dimension Data’s 2017 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report, published today. The report, now in its 20th anniversary edition (and formerly called the Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report), addresses all aspects of the CX spectrum – from organizations’ strategies to operations to technologies and more. This year, a record-breaking 1,351 organizations across industries and in 80 countries – spanning Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific, Australia, the Middle East and Africa – participated in the research.
Results reveal an uncomfortable truth: that while organizations may pay lip service to the value of CX – with 71% citing it as their top, strategic performance measure – there may be more talk and less action. Just 13% of organizations self-rate their CX delivery a 9 out of 10 or better, and 1 in 3 organizations (36%) don’t have a manager appointed who is responsible for all customer experiences. In addition, more than half of organizations (51%) don’t have a digital business strategy at all – or, at best, are in the process of developing one.
“The digital dilemma is deepening, and organizations need to choose a path between digital crisis or redemption,” said Joe Manuele, Dimension Data’s group executive for CX and collaboration. “The world has formed a digital skin, and business, service, technology and commercial models have changed forever. However, organizations are strategically challenged to keep pace with customer behavior.”
There are bright points, though, as 81% of organizations cite CX as a competitive differentiator. The top factor driving digital transformation is improving CX, followed by customer demands for digital – with companies reporting benefits associated with improving CX including:
- Increased customer loyalty (92%)
- An uplift in revenue (84%)
- Cost savings (79%)
“The annual release of the Dimension Data Global CX Benchmarking Report is a highly-anticipated event in the customer experience world,” said Sheila McGee-Smith, president and principal analyst at McGee-Smith Analytics, LLC. “For 20 years now, it has offered the definitive global view of how technology is changing CX for both customers and companies. With the current explosion of devices and interaction channels, its insights are more valuable than ever for companies seeking to understand how to plan their next CX moves.”
Other highlights from the 2017 Global CX Benchmarking Report include:
- More channels for engagement – Customers have, on average, a choice of nine channels with which to engage with organizations. This number will rise to 11 channels by 2018.
- Omnichannel as a top technology trend – Connected customer journeys via omnichannel (integrated) solutions are the top-ranked technology trend for 2017. Omnichannel solutions, alongside customer analytics, were listed as the top factors to reshape CX capabilities within the next five years.
- But… gaps in omnichannel strategies – Only 8% of organizations report having all channels connected, with 7 in 10 (70%) having no or very few channels connected – severely hindering visibility into customer journeys and preferences. In fact, 1 in 3 organizations (33%) say they can’t track customer journeys at all.
- Siloed channel strategies – 58% of organizations report that their channels are being managed in silos, and 42% say channel data is not actively shared between teams. Furthermore, 72% fail to collect data to review and optimize journey patterns.
- Analytic inaction – Only 29% of organizations use analytics to inform their channel/contact management strategy; 42% say their analytic systems don’t meet their current needs.
- Areas of growth – Emerging CX robotics are creating a new reality, with virtual assistants (chat bots) voted the top channel growth focus for 2017 (with nearly a 250% increase in deployments forecast over the next year). In addition, Internet of Things (IoT) deployments are set to double within the next year.
- Increased reliance across channels – Over the next two years, 78% of organizations predict they’ll see a rise in their assisted-service volumes, 71% say they’ll see a rise in fully automated digital contacts and 70% in CX via social media. In addition, 62% of companies anticipate overall customer interactions to grow across channels.
Manuele said: “Pioneers of the digital age have reimagined business models and processes that have changed customer behavior, and the choices organizations make with their CX and digital strategies will define their future success.”