Boardroom executives typically understand the importance of multichannel customer experience, but are failing to invest in the processes and frameworks to make this happen, according to research published today.

The second annual Multichannel Customer Experience Report, published by Econsultancy in association with Foviance, is based on a survey of more than 650 companies and agencies carried out earlier this year.

The research gives a state-of-the-nation perspective on the extent to which organisations are committed to delivering an integrated experience in a world where the customer journey is becoming increasingly complex due to evolving technology and the proliferation of devices.

The study, which looks at what the most successful multichannel companies are doing differently, has found that ‘mature’ companies have overcome technical challenges and are using a much wider range of data sources than other companies to understand the customer experience.

A commitment to customer experience from the top of the organisation is regarded as a key requirement by just under half of companies (46%) surveyed, higher than for all other organisational attributes deemed to be important.

More than half of responding companies rate themselves either as ‘excellent’ (21%) or ‘good’ (37%) in terms of internal buy-in at the top of their organisations.

But only 26% of respondents say their companies have a well-developed strategy in place for improving customer experience, just a slight increase on 22% last year.

The research has also found that ‘complexity of customer experience’ is now seen as the greatest barrier to improving multichannel customer experience, overtaking ‘organisational structure’ since 2010.

Econsultancy Research Director Linus Gregoriadis said: “The understanding about the importance of customer experience is there, but many business leaders are ‘talking the talk without walking the walk’. Evidence of ownership of customer experience among company executives has not necessarily translated into clearly-defined strategies, frameworks and processes for making it happen.”

The research found that mature companies are more likely to have overcome technology and data-related issues. ‘Immature’ companies, because they are still worried about technology and systems, are losing sight of the importance of customer service and empowered staff.

Richard Sedley, Commercial Director at Foviance, said: “Companies that have benefited most from improving their multichannel customer experience are those that have recognised the importance of combining quantitative and qualitative customer insights. If your company isn't already capturing 'voice of customer' via onsite surveying and social listening and integrating it with data from web analytics and search there has never been a better time to start."

As part of this year’s research, responding organisations were asked to rate themselves across five key areas which are crucial for delivering a joined-up and compelling multichannel customer experience. These are systems & processes, leadership & culture, alignment with brand, customer touch points and use of insight.

‘Mature companies’ are those which scored highly across the five key pillars of the Foviance Multichannel Customer Experience Maturity Model.

In addition to this survey, five sector-specific consumer surveys about customer experience were carried out (surveying 5,000 consumers in total), covering retail, travel, online banking, mobile phone providers and gaming / gambling.

The online research, carried out using TolunaQuick, highlights that 69% of consumers surveyed have dealt with a retail company online and 73% of people would be likely to recommend a retail brand based on good customer experience.

Other findings from the 2011 Multichannel Customer Experience Report:

-) Just over a quarter (28%) of companies say there is ownership of customer experience at board or ‘c- level’, but without full commitment across leadership teams. Almost a fifth of companies (18%) say there is ‘c-level ownership of the total customer experience’.

-) The gap between mature companies and others is typically more pronounced for integration of digital channels, such website, email and internet advertising, into the overall customer experience.

-) The gap is less obvious for offline touch points (for example retail outlets, direct marketing and events), with the notable exception of telephone support and sales where mature companies are way ahead of the curve.
The research also shows how mature and ‘immature’ companies have a different perception of the attributes required for delivering a positive customer experience.

-) Mature companies are far more likely than the least mature organisations to regard motivated and empowered staff and efficient customer service as being among the most important attributes.

-) In contrast, immature companies are more focused on visibility of customer behaviour across channels and the need for a single or joined-up customer database.

Get this report:

The full report is available on the Econsultancy website to Econsultancy subscribers (Silver membership and above) here:

http://econsultancy.com/reports/multichannel-customer-experience-report

Journalists and bloggers can email or call Linus Gregoriadis for a complimentary copy of these reports and / or further information.

Email: linus AT econsultancy.com

For more information, contact:

Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director, Econsultancy

linus.gregoriadis AT econsultancy.com

+44 (0) 207 269 1450

About Econsultancy

Econsultancy is a global independent community-based publisher, focused on best practice digital marketing and e-commerce, and used by over 240,000 internet professionals every month.

Our hub has 105,000+ members worldwide from clients, agencies and suppliers alike with over 90% member retention rate. We help our members build their internal capabilities via a combination of research reports and how-to guides, training and development, consultancy, face-to-face conferences, forums and professional networking.

Join Econsultancy today to learn what’s happening in digital marketing – and what works.

Call us to find out more on +44 (0)20 7269 1450 (London) or +1 212 699 3626 (New York).

About Foviance

Foviance is a leading multichannel customer experience consultancy that helps some of the world’s best known global brands to deliver better customer experiences that drive improvements in customer satisfaction for increased customer loyalty and better financial performance.

Founded in 2000 and with a heritage in usability research and data analytics, Foviance delivers research and analytics-based consultancy to its clients about the effectiveness of their individual channels, such as mobile, web and call centre and how they combine in a cross-channel environment. For many clients, insight is provided not only in their home market, but also internationally through Foviance extensive alliance network.

Foviance engages with its customers wherever they are in their product lifecycle, and provides insight so they understand how to improve, create and deliver excellent customer experiences.

Foviance boasts 43 of the UK FTSE 100 companies among its client roster, including Barclays, BSkyB, and Sainsbury’s. In addition Foviance works with International brands such as AstraZeneca, Dell and Nokia. Foviance has offices in London and Shanghai.

For further information:

Tel:+44 (0)8450 546 500, e-mail: info@foviance.com, web: http://www.foviance.com

Published on: 12:37PM on 4th November 2011