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Company silos. That least poetic of business metaphors is not going away anytime soon.
For all the articles about cross-functional teams and iterative ways of working, 40% of marketers admit that they are not adequately supported by other members of the organisation and that different departments have their own agenda.
This stat comes from a survey that forms part of Econsultancy's Implementing Customer Experience Strategy Best Practice Guide. The guide includes a framework for implementing customer experience (CX), as well as advice and top tips on resolving CX challenges.
Some of the responses to the survey show just how far behind some companies are. Alongside the 40% admitting to CX silos, 14% say that their business 'prioritises short-term profitability over customer lifetime value', 9% say they face 'barriers higher up getting strategy off the ground', and 2% say the 'C-suite is on board but doesn't communicate vision'.
There are two chinks of light, however, with 29% of respondents saying reaching customer experience aims is 'a collaborative process' and 6% saying they 'have gained business support for CX because they were able to prove tangible business benefits.'
In a question that could be seen to add further proof to the theory of disjointed CX strategy, when asked 'what is driving your customer experience implementation process?', 30% of respondents replied 'we design and measure our customer experience on a channel-by-channel basis' (see chart below).
While there are some experiences that exist more neatly in a single channel than others, the challenges of service design and the best utilisation of first party-data are ones that are also best met by some sort of broader strategic thinking or mapping of the customer journey.
Ian McCaig, founder and former CMO at Qubit, stresses the need for some centralisation:
"The foundations have been missed. Organisations have got to get on with bringing systems together and having some kind of centralisation. You hear a lot of talk about single customer view projects or data lakes but they’ve simply got to get on and make it happen.”
In Econsultancy research from 2015 (The CX Challenge), mid-market companies were identified as struggling the most with CX. These mid-size companies said their biggest challenge was a lack of overall strategy.
One hypothesis is that these companies are large enough to struggle with company culture, but not big enough to gain enough investment in staff and technology.
All this may be seen to paint a sorry picture of company efforts to improve CX, but it should be noted that nearly a fifth of respondents in our recent survey said they "consistently meet customer experience expectations." Considering that there will always be changing expectations with regard to customer experience, this isn't too shabby a figure.
However, it should be noted in the chart below that agency respondents were less confident about their clients' CX efforts.
Only 11% of agency respondents thought their clients were meeting expectations and fully 20% said their clients "generally fail" to meet expectations (compared to 8% of company respondents choosing this option).
While the understanding of what makes a good customer experience seems to be improving across organisations and at all levels of management, getting there is an age-old story of change management and organisational structure.
Subscribers can download the Implementing Customer Experience Strategy Best Practice Guide for further findings from the survey and plenty of practical advice.