For years it has felt like we’re stuck at the beginning of the journey toward improving customer experience (CX).

We know what we want to achieve (great CX), we have plenty of ideas about how to do it, yet very few of our organisations have truly aligned their objectives with the customers’.

Things do seem to be going in the right direction, though. Econsultancy’s many CX surveys indicate that organisations are starting to ‘get CX’ and, as a result, are increasingly customer-focused.

To see where we’re at right now, Econsultancy recently invited dozens of marketers to Digital Cream Sydney for roundtable discussions about the state of CX within their organisations. Throughout the day, table leader Luke Williams, associate director of digital experience at ACU, heard some surprisingly positive views on the state of CX – with a few caveats, of course.

Before we get into them, though, we’d just like to let you know about a related course we are offering on November 30th in Singapore: Mastering Customer Experience (CX) Management in the Digital Age.  For more information and to reserve your spot, please visit this link.

So here are three of the highlights from the CX discussions and some parting words of advice.

1. Marketers are investing significant time in CX work

The first sign that things are looking up for customer experience improvement is that most organisations represented at the discussion had done some user experience (UX) or customer experience (CX) work.

Attendees were all aware of the key activities required to improve CX: Creating personas, mapping the customer journeys, and integrating touchpoints. This is a significant change from a few years ago where CX terms were not very well known at all.

While this is a step in the right direction, marketers reported that CX activities tended to be siloed. That is, different departments were improving customer experience in their own way and so CX is not yet improving in a ‘joined-up’ way across the organisation.

2) CX initiatives are now being taken seriously

Participants reported that CX is now a common discussion topic within organisations and there is broad recognition of the value of CX initiatives. Companies are also looking to CX as a means to differentiate themselves from competition, something which our surveys have pointed out a number of times.

On the down side, attendees identified a few obstacles that still impede the progress of CX within companies.

First off, organisations still do not assign clear ownership of CX to a particular department. Because of this, few felt that CX was genuinely part of their company’s overall strategy.

And finally, because CX is not strategic, marketers found it difficult to drive CX initiatives across multiple channels. CX efforts remained, for the most part, siloed.

3) Organisations are measuring CX success

Possibly one of the most telling signs that CX is moving on from being just a ‘good idea’ is that companies are starting to adopt a consistent approach to measuring customer sentiment. 

Most participants are using Net Promoter Score (NPS) and while they admitted that the metric may be overly simplistic, all attendees agreed that NPS is an important tool for aligning the organisation around improving CX.

Attendees also pointed out that organisations were facing some obstacles in this area, though.

Virtually everyone admitted that they were struggling to realise the vision put forward by the vendors that better CX data would lead to better CX. The issue is that once the platforms are deployed, integration was lacking and so the full benefits were not being realised.

Also, because CX efforts are still not considered strategic (see point 2.), CX initiatives were not getting the budget they needed to spend on the technology to measure and report successes properly.

It was also noted that the required data analytics skills were also lacking, also largely down to budget constraints.

The way forward

So overall, there was plenty of good news and a fair share of bad news, but the discussions ended on notes of advice and encouragement about what needed to happen next.

  • Focus on the ‘moments that matter’
    • CX experts advised attendees to identify key moments in the customer journey which really matter to your customer and then realign your efforts around improving them.
  • Scale down CX initiatives
    • Reducing CX initiatives to just trying to improve a few ‘moments that matter’ helps marketers align around CX as it will be much easier to visualize improvements.
  • Report wins to stakeholders
    • Having a simplified CX strategy will also make it easier for stakeholders to understand and recognize CX success.

A word of thanks

Econsultancy would like to thank all of the marketers who participated on the day and especially our Customer Experience Management table moderator, Luke Williams, associate director of digital experience at ACU.

We hope to see you all at future Sydney Econsultancy events!