Customer experience continues to be a hot topic, having recently been deemed marketers’ single “most exciting opportunity” of 2016 (as it was in 2015, and in 2014!). Now, a couple of new studies delve into the areas that marketers believe are most important to improving customers’ experiences.
The first of those studies, from the CMO Council and SAP Hybris [download page], asked more than 170 senior marketing leaders to identify the top 5 (of 16 listed) attributes and elements of the customer experience.
The leader, by a wide margin, was a fast response time to issues, needs, or complaints, cited by three-quarters of the respondents. This was followed by:
These responses seem to be generally in line with consumers’ own expectations. In survey results released last year by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a fast response to enquiries or complaints shared the top spot as the most important element of an ideal customer experience. Clarity and simplicity of information across channels was also a top-5 response, as was the ability to interact with the company over multiple channels.
In other words, both marketers and consumers alike believe that key elements of a strong customer experience include fast responses and clarity and consistency across channels.
What’s interesting to note from both surveys is that personalization ranks low on the list of attributes. In the CMO Council study, just 19% of senior marketing leaders said that recognition and view into the customer’s history with the brand at every touch point was a top-5 attribute. And in the EIU survey, just 12% of consumers cited a more personalized experience as being among their top-3 attributes of an ideal experience.
Personalization isn’t high on the list of actions organizations are taking to improve the customer experience, either. In a new commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Accenture Interactive, developing and improving digital channels (60%) was the leading action being taken by respondents to improve customers’ experiences. Based on a survey of 702 global respondents responsible for customer experience at their organizations, the survey also found that brands are:
As for personalization? It was a little lower down the list: 39% said they are implementing or improving personalization efforts through assets like recommendation engines.
Still, as some of the fast facts below demonstrate, personalization does have a role to play.
The following are some other interesting findings from the CMO Council report.
The following are some other interesting findings from the Accenture Interactive report.
About the Data: The CMO Council report was based on a survey of more than 170 marketing leaders across the globe, 40% of whom are based in the Asia-Pacific region and 32% in North America. A majority (56%) have annual revenues of more than $500 million. Respondents were twice as likely to focus on B2B (42%) than B2C (21%), though the remaining 37% are a hybrid of B2B and B2C.
Forrester Consulting describes its methodology as follows:
“In this study, Forrester conducted an online survey of 702 customer experience decision-makers from enterprises in the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, India, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and China to evaluate their organizations’ customer experience transformation efforts. Eleven industries were covered, including automotive, food and beverage, consumer product manufacturing, electronics/technology, manufacturing and materials, retail, travel and hospitality, telecommunications services, banking, insurance, and life sciences (pharma and medical devices). Survey participants included director, VP, and C-level decision-makers in IT, marketing and communications, operations, sales, customer service, and product development. Forrester additionally conducted in-depth phone interviews of 11 respondents fitting the same profile. Respondents were offered a small incentive as a thank you for time spent on the survey. The study began in April 2016 and was completed in May 2016.”
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