Organizations must tear down the walls between IT and the business and make more customer-centric investments if they are to improve customer experience (CX), according to new research from Pegasystems Inc.
Pega’s 2020 Global Customer Experience Study was conducted among decision makers spanning 12 countries and seven different industries by research firm Savanta.
The study highlighted four key pain points businesses must address if they are to provide a better, more personalized customer experience, successfully differentiate themselves from the competition, and improve customer satisfaction and loyalty:
- Walls between IT and the business are causing CX confusion: The research revealed that in India IT leads the wide majority CX business initiatives over any other group. Seventy-seven percent of CX projects are currently led by IT, 9 percent by general management, 2 percent by dedicated CX functions, 2 percent by marketing, and just 1% by retention and loyalty specialists. While IT is critical to supporting these projects, problems can arise when they are forced to make business decisions that require those in other departments – many of whom are measured by a different set of metrics – to buy in and adopt a new approach, or a new technology solution. It’s a key reason why 52% of respondents cited ‘people issues’, including a lack of skills, adoption, lack of analytical skills, and org structure among their top four CX challenges.
- Where are all the C-level sponsors? Only 43 percent of businesses have a C-level sponsor for CX initiatives.This can result in a lack of expertise, leadership, and awareness in the initiatives themselves and can also cause those working on them to question the organization’s commitment to CX. By contrast, the involvement of C-level sponsors can in itself break down the walls between IT and the business and accelerate change.
- Lack of investment in the most relevant channels: Ninety-one percent of companies say their channel focus is determined by the needs of their customers, but their actions say otherwise. Respondents named email (69 percent), which has increasingly lower customer response rates, as its top channel investment for next year. By contrast, only 18 percent said they were planning to invest in chatbots, and 17 percent planned to invest in inbound contact centers, suggesting a focus on prioritizing short-term outbound gains instead of focusing on the inbound channels customer most typically want to use to communicate.
- Reliance on outdated analytics: While analytics software evolves at lightning speed, the study found too many outdated and less effective analytics solutions still in use. For example, just over one quarter or more still rely on customer journey mapping (29 percent) or micro-segmentation (30 percent), while nearly one in five (18 percent) still perform arduous A/B testing. Even more telling is that use of customer-centric analytics that can really jumpstart CX, such or performance simulation (35 percent), are still far from prevalent.
“This study demonstrates that while many organizations see the value of improving customer engagement, many need to understand that implementing a new technology cannot be the universal remedy for all business problems,” said Suman Reddy, managing director, Pegasystems India. “Instead, organizations must look at a more holistic, strategic approach towards customers as individuals with unique needs and preferences that might varies within a very complex, real-time relationship with every brand they interact with. They have to earn the right to that relationship every single day, which requires change at the very top of the business, driven by empowered C-level leaders who are willing to re-architect their core business structure around the customer. The co-relation between IT and business decision makers can help achieve successful business goals through better customer experience.”