Easy access to search tools, a multitude of applications and friend/influencer-endorsed content have allowed consumers to create an idiosyncratic digital view of the world around them.

In order to reach these audiences effectively, brands need to resonate with consumers through equally personal experiences by optimising their online (and offline) touchpoints accordingly.

Based on the recently published Customer Experience Optimization report by Econsultancy and Ensighten, organisations definitely seem aware of this:

How important is customer experience optimisation?

The report highlights how organisations are using tech and data to deliver personalised customer experiences, along with the challenges they are facing.

Despite claiming to have customer experience optimisation on the brain, only 3% of companies consider their ability to use cross-channel or cross-device data for either real-time website or mobile app personalisation as a strength.

Is the customer experience really as important to organisations as respondents suggest? If so, why are so few organisations not yet capable of delivering the holy grail of experiences and how are organisations optimising their CX?

While the report goes into far more detail, here are some highlights.

Privacy is a big deal for brands and consumers

One of the main business benefits companies derive from customer experience optimisation is better brand perception, with 66% stating this.

So, if building a trustworthy relationship with consumers is a primary focus of customer experience, then it stands to reason that privacy would be a significant part of a company’s optimisation efforts.

To what extent does your organisation currently optimise the customer experience for ensuring complete visitor privacy?

The activity organisations are most likely to be doing ‘thoroughly’ in relation to optimising the customer experience is ensuring complete visitor privacy.

Privacy is quite a contentious issue for businesses, particularly where customer experience is concerned.

Organisations are most likely to acquire and use first party data when optimising, so consumers are not only expecting their data to be used appropriately, but also that their data is stored safely.

With a range of high-profile companies falling victim to hackers in recent memory, a privacy breach is a key concern due to the perceptions of vulnerability and incapability that come from such situations.

Interestingly, privacy is not only a primary way companies are optimising their experiences, it also dictates the extent to which many personalise at all.

Over two-fifths (41%) are prevented from personalising customer experiences as much as they would like to due to privacy concerns.

The fear around personalisation is that consumers become uncomfortable with the degree to which organisations “know” them.

When done incorrectly, communications from brands to customers can sometimes seem too personal. However, one agency respondent revealed the effectiveness of tackling this issue head on:

Connecting pieces of content worked well, as did being transparent with the way in which it worked. Being more discrete with how the data was being used also saw better results.

Organisations are only using a fraction of their data

Not only are brands fearful of using customer data due to privacy issues, but they are also only using customer data to optimise a handful of channels.

Although more than half of client-side respondents are optimising desktop website (83%) and email (67%) using customer data, companies are leaving plenty of opportunities on the table.

Through which online channels do you / your clients optimise the customer experience using customer data?

Despite mobile’s clear impact on consumer expectations and the different behavioural habits exhibited on mobile devices, only half of the company respondents are using customer data to improve their mobile sites and just 21% do this with their mobile apps.

In the light of this, it is not surprising that most organisations only 18% of companies are using a single customer profile for most of their marketing applications.

However, it appears that this isn’t purely due to lack of desire; the cause is more likely a lack of ability. Organisations are struggling to get to grips with the vast data available to them.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents (62%) often feel overwhelmed by the volume of incoming data and only 27% are able to turn all data into useful information and act on it.

Although many organisations are in the same boat with this, this cannot be an excuse for complacency. Delivering a relevant customer experience is a highly touted competitive advantage, so working out how to maximise the data available is of critical importance.

Site performance a crucial part of CX optimisation efforts

With an inability to create the personal experiences across multiple platforms, organisations’ main optimisation efforts tend to be privacy, or site performance related.

As well as the aforementioned considerations to privacy, many companies consider maintaining their site performance as a key optimisation activity.

To what extent does your organisation currently optimise the customer experience for each of the following tactics?

Nearly half (47%) monitor website performance ‘thoroughly’ and a further 49% do so ‘partially’.

More than four in five are also executing website testing and optimisation activities (84%) and speeding up web page load and responsiveness. (83%).

These are all perfectly valid and necessary optimisation activities.

However, with most organisations considering privacy (what is required of them) and site performance (the basics) the scope of their optimisation activities, even if CX is deemed important, it is certainly not yet the game-changing activity it is meant to be.

To find out more on the issues organisations are facing in improving their customer experience optimisation approach, download the Customer Experience Optimization report.