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Customer experience (CX) efforts aren’t primarily being held back by lack of strategy or organizational support, but rather from a lack of real-time customer insights and troubles operationalizing the experience. That’s according to a report from Verndale [download page], which partnered with Vanson Bourne and Sitecore to survey 200 senior US-based decision-makers with involvement in the CX journey at their organizations.

Respondents tended to come from large organizations, and operated in one of six verticals: Business and Professional Services; Financial Services; Healthcare and Life Sciences; IT, Technology and Telecoms; Manufacturing and Distribution; and Travel and Tourism.

The relative ranking of the results regarding CX challenges suggests that while the internal organizational setup is conducive to CX initiatives, organizations need help with data collection, access and analysis.

Indeed, separate findings indicate that the areas most in need of improvement for CX personalization are more real-time data/insights, more customer data, and greater analysis of customer data.

Notably, a sizable portion of respondents said that a key challenge is finding the budget for CX. There’s reason for optimism on this end, as data-driven marketers are reporting a surge in budgets as they target CX improvements.

There’s More Work to Be Done

Respondents to the report recognize the key benefits that can be derived from effective CX optimization. These benefits include increased revenues (61%), greater customer satisfaction (58%), increased sales (52%) and a competitive advantage over rivals (46%).

Yet the vast majority (84%) of respondents at the same time agree that the potential of customer experience personalization has not yet been fully realized.

Larger companies tend to be a little more confident: while 98% of respondents from companies with 100-249 employees feel that the potential of CX personalization is yet to be fully realized, that figure drops to 78% of respondents from companies with at least 1,000 employees.

Machine Learning to the Rescue?

Decision-makers are united in their belief that advanced technology such as machine learning and artificial intelligence can be a huge factor in helping their organization face CX challenges.

Organizations’ use of advanced technology is still in relative infancy: about one-third (34%) say that advanced technology is already enabling their organization to provide a better customer experience.

Yet respondents envision machine learning helping in their most critical areas of need: processing huge amounts of data; providing real-time analysis and optimization; and building more accurate pricing models/strategies.

The full report is available for download here.

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