Customer experience (CX) seems to dominate every conversation about enterprise strategy – but what exactly is CX, and why is it so important to today’s business leaders? According to Gartner, CX is “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.” The concept of catering to the client certainly isn’t new, but in an age of unprecedented customer access to research and comparative experiences, CX is more important than ever for businesses to stay competitive.
The Modern Customer
When you’re looking for a new product to buy, do you make your purchase on a whim, or do you read user reviews, compare products, and come to an informed decision? If you’re the latter type, then you’re like most modern consumers who are not only aware of what to expect from a product or service, but are even able to influence or dictate the type of experience they receive.
With 55 percent of consumers willing to pay a premium for a guaranteed good experience, research on the impact of CX validates its prominence in business strategies. Conversely, 66 percent of customers who switch brands or providers do so because of poor service. [i] The bottom line is that if customers like a service, they are going to favor more business with that provider and recommend it to other potential customers. Thus, it comes as no surprise that over 50 percent of organizations plan to increase their spending on customer experience innovations by 2018. [ii]
Who is Responsible for Improving CX?
Successfully executing CX initiatives requires cross-organizational collaboration—from marketing and sales departments to finance and operational teams. IT teams can play a key role in helping business leaders leverage technology to evolve their CX and service delivery efforts. In fact, according to Gartner, business leaders consider the IT department to be a central element of CX initiatives in 80 percent of cases, indicating that companies today rely strongly on technology to differentiate them in a customer-centric market.[iii] IT leaders supporting CX initiatives must therefore understand how to measure consumer standards in terms of quality, satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.
Supporting CX Initiatives with IT
IT leaders should pursue investments and organizational changes that enable enterprises to understand their customers’ journey. This includes leveraging a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform that allows collection of key customer data across the enterprise. Additionally, IT teams must address the challenge around applying analytics to Big Data to drive key customer insights back to the business.
A CX initiative that is data-driven offers numerous benefits. Insights generated from consumer data position businesses to better understand the behavior of their clients at various touch points across the customer experience. This enables departments to improve their operations on multiple levels. Sales teams can use personalized customer profiles to create tailored interactions with prospective clients. Customer service representatives can ensure loyalty and retention by being proactive with support issues. And product experts can rapidly troubleshoot and resolve problems that matter to customers the most. The ultimate result is a better CX that drives trust and differentiates enterprises from the competition.
Improving CX requires a collaborative strategy that leverages technology and data to derive valuable insights for engaging consumers and meeting their needs. But before executing a CX initiative, businesses need to ensure comprehensive visibility into the consumer experience across all organizational levels. Only after enterprises have developed a solid understanding their customers’ journeys, needs, and values can they begin to design a truly better CX.
For more on driving CX with IT, check out our blog, Customer Experience: Where IT Meets Business Strategy.