State of Customer Experience 2016
Below are additional insights about Customer Experience Analysis from Primary Intelligence’s 2016 State of Customer Experience report.
- Customer Experience Analysis Usage
78 percent of B2B firms are engaged in Customer Experience initiatives in 2016, roughly the same as 2015.
In 2016, 19 percent of B2B managers said they have no Customer Experience Analysis program in place, while 3 percent said they were unsure if their organizations were engaged in CX initiatives.
- More Firms Opting to Start CX Programs
Primary Intelligence expects to see the largest percentage of firms that are conducting CX programs shift to the right over time as CX Analysis becomes more mainstream, indeed, becomes table stakes for firms who want to not only capture but retain their customers, especially in hyper competitive markets.When performance data is overlaid on top of program tenure, many performance measures are highest in organizations that have had Customer Experience programs in place between eight and 10 years, similar to 2015 State of Customer Experience findings. Most notable are revenue growth, profitability, employee retention, and product competitiveness, as well as knowing which products and services customers buy from the organization and knowing the business needs or problems customers are trying to solve.
- Customer Experience Beliefs and Attitudes
While most CX leaders believe strongly that Customer Experience Analysis improves their organization’s ability to retain customers, the relatively low score concerning leaders’ understanding of the overall customer experience of their clients speaks to the hard work most organizations face to fully understand how delightful—or painful—interacting with them can be.It also speaks to the long-term efforts most firms will need to undertake to make organizational, process, and cultural changes based upon customer feedback.
- CX Benefits
Improved understanding of customers will help firms to better meet the needs of their buyers, creating greater upsell and cross sell opportunities over the long term. Firms that fail to take the time to understand the needs of their buyers will struggle with all facets of customer success, including customer retention, revenue retention, and revenue expansion. Loyalty will also diminish as buyers increasingly defect to competitors who are taking the time to understand customer needs.In addition to understanding customer needs, additional benefits of Customer Experience Analysis include improved customer service and support, improved customer communications, identification of best practices, increased customer retention rates, and improved responsiveness.
- Ongoing CX Feedback is Preferred
Of note is the very low percentage of firms who conduct CX analysis on an infrequent basis or not at all. This is an encouraging development and a sign that most organizations are recognizing the importance of gathering, analyzing, and acting on customer feedback.
- B2B Firms Organizing Differently Around CX Initiatives
In addition to a higher percentage of dedicated CX resources, teams, and departments, organizations are also increasing responsibility for Customer Experience from:
- Market Research groups (23 percent in 2015 compared to 36 percent in 2016)
- Product Management (12 percent in 2015 compared to 20 percent in 2016)
- Sales Operations/Support (21 percent in 2015 compared to 27 percent in 2016)
This increased focus on customer experience from more specialized and dedicated CX teams—along with research groups and product teams—is a positive development and indicates that not only is greater seriousness being assigned to customers’ feedback, but additional follow through is also being devoted to closing the loop on customer concerns.
- Future CX Investment
While the majority of firms plan to increase annual spending on their Customer Experience programs, roughly one-quarter (24 percent) will leave CX spending unchanged and 5 percent plan to decrease spending on CX initiatives.
- Highest Percentage of Firms Spending $100K-$500K on CX Programs Annually
The largest percentage of organizations—approximately one-third—are spending between $100,000 and $500,000 annually on their Customer Experience initiatives. A 20 percent increase would boost annual CX spending to between $120,000 and $600,000, representing a healthy uptick in the investment dollars flowing into customer-focused initiatives.However, an overlay of annual CX investment with performance data shows that revenue growth, profitability, and a deeper understanding of customers’ top challenges and priorities is maximized in organizations that are spending between $500,000 and $1 million on Customer Experience programs annually.
- 10 Strategies for Success
- Utilize bi-directional communication with customers to ensure you’re getting their feedback and interpreting it correctly. Repeating back customer survey feedback to customers in order to ensure the organization is accurately understanding key pain points, asking for customer assistance in prioritizing the most important areas that need to be addressed, and keeping customers engaged in the process so that everyone stays on the same page are all ways that dialog can remain open.
- Ensure employees understand the goals of Customer Experience programs so that they can present a unified, coherent experience to customers. Also ensure that there’s communication between internal groups to guard against redundancies, gaps, or missed opportunities.
- Get organizational alignment around CX initiatives to ensure that key executives and managers throughout the organization have current, accurate customer-relevant data they can communicate to their teams. This will ensure there’s a uniform commitment to customer experience at all levels of the enterprise.
- Share success stories and best practices with employees that are outside your industry. This is especially insightful for vertical markets that haven’t traditionally made Customer Experience a priority.
- Create small wins to build momentum for CX programs. This helps to build excitement and support from throughout the organization and leads to cross-learning opportunities.
- Identify and nurture brand advocates, including ensuring a clear understanding of their goals and what motivates them, is important for future reference accounts, speakers at industry and user conferences, and positive publicity in general.
- Use metrics to demonstrate Customer Experience ROI in order to help fund CX programs over the long term. While most leaders will acknowledge that satisfied customers spend more money than dissatisfied customers, proving this out through hard dollar examples helps to provide ongoing budget support for the program.
- Incorporate customer comments, not just metrics. Although ROI is important and it’s human nature to fixate on scores, numbers, and data, especially if senior management is driving the organization toward these goals, focusing too heavily on metrics can cause teams to miss important customer feedback about actual experiences.
- Make corporate decisions through the lens of Customer Experience. This is helpful in truly understanding the full impact of those decisions. A Senior Research Manager in retailing notes that, “One of the things you should always ask yourself is, how much is this going to cost, both in terms of your financial metrics and your budget, but also in the customer experience side?”
- Iterate, and don’t expect perfection. Customer Experience programs are long-term endeavors that require ongoing tweaking and updates. A CX manager’s job is never done. There will always be new challenges to resolve and issues to face.