Customer experience (CX) leaders are prioritizing digital channels and creating digital alternatives to in-person touchpoints, according to a study [download page] from Precisely. Virtually all of the survey’s respondents said they had either already created a digital alternative to in-person touchpoints in the past year (65%) or are planning to over the coming 12 months (34%).
It’s easy to understand why they are choosing to do so after the pandemic made consumers turn to online services more than ever before, with behavior changes wrought by the pandemic being of utmost importance to marketers as they craft their strategies.
The 100 CX leaders surveyed across North America, Europe, and Australia – all at companies with at least $100 million in revenues – feel for the most part that customers’ shift to digital will remain after the pandemic is over. Some 56% agreed that customers will generally prefer digital channels at that point, while 54% agreed that customers now expect to be able to do everything online should they choose to. Moreover, a slim majority (52%) agreed that customers are more digitally savvy than they were at the start of the pandemic.
This necessitates a strong digital CX: separate research indicates that more than 8 in 10 (84% of) executives agree that excellence in digital customer experience (CX) is critical to business survival. Some 4 in 10 CX leaders surveyed in this latest study say that customers now expect seamless experiences across all digital channels.
However, the authors note that “in changing the balance between digital and in-person touchpoints, businesses are treading a careful line between providing convenient online self-service tools and failing to meet customer expectations.” Indeed, phone calls remain consumers’ preferred customer service channel, and in the past people have expressed a preference for interacting with humans as opposed to chatbots. Perhaps in recognition of that, close to half of CX leaders agreed that customers expect to be able to speak to a human support agent should they want to.
Top CX Objectives, Challenges and Benefits
Thinking about 2022, a strong majority (84%) of CX leaders surveyed said that improving customer satisfaction is either a top or high priority, and roughly 8 in 10 ascribed the same level of priority to improving customer acquisition or conversion rates and generating cost savings.
As for the biggest business benefits of data-driven CX, respondents were most apt to cite better targeting and personalization (61%), followed by higher conversion rates (47%) and improved omnichannel CX (43%).
Data issues continue to be the main obstacles to data-driven customer experiences: close to half complained of data not being accessible (48%) or of a lack of relevant current data (45%). By comparison, slightly fewer said that insufficient investment in CX (41%) or lack of buy-in from senior leadership (39%) are among their biggest channels.
For more, download the study here.