Precisely has published a report entitled “How Data is Driving Next-Generation Customer Experiences”. A survey of 100 CX leaders found that the trends that emerged at the start of the pandemic show little sign of reversing. The report highlights the importance of CX to the retention, lifetime value and advocacy of customers. It identified the challenges faced to deliver great CX and strategies taken to transform customer experiences. The report underlines the importance of data-driven CX and explains how organisations create cohesive customer communications strategies and capabilities.
The respondents hailed from North America, Europe and Australia and are leaders in CX, data or analytics. At 21 pages, the report provides a mix of statistics and commentary from respondents and analysis from the authors, Corineum Intelligence.
The rise of digital CX
The pandemic saw a shift to digital. While there is a return to the office, the survey indicates that many organisations will have fewer offices. 28% closed in-person locations over the last 12 months, and 42% expect to do so over the next 12 months. The authors view this as a reduction in in-person interactions with customers. However, the breakdowns between different industries are not revealed, though the sample is probably not statistically large enough. According to our conversations, some enterprises are opening larger hubs for employees and shutting down satellite offices. What is clear is that firms are becoming more digital, which also means customer interactions. 99% have created digital touchpoints in the last 12 months or plan to do so in the next 12 months.
While companies embrace omnichannel engagements it is clear digital is not the complete answer. Bob Azman, Chief Customer Service Experience Officer at CX consultancy, Innovative CX, commented: “I think we have to provide [inperson] options for these channels. I get concerned about organizations that say, ‘well, all of that can be handled through a bot or AI.’”
Digital is here to stay, though 56% prefer digital channels now that the pandemic is over. However, it is not a complete shift, with 46% noting they would expect to speak to a human support agent should they want to. The report also highlights where enterprises are investing in digital.
What is important?
What is interesting are the top strategic priorities highlighted. They were:
- Generating cost savings (55%)
- Improving customer satisfaction levels (48%)
- Returning to ‘business as usual’ after the pandemic (42%)
However, the top three strategic priorities marked as high, or top were:
- Improving customer satisfaction levels (84%)
- Improving customer acquisition or conversion rates (81%)
- Ensuring communications comply with regulatory requirements (80%)
The cost-saving element may be after the splurge on digital initiatives during the pandemic. Organisations are now seeking to understand the ROI they delivered and create a more considered strategic focus. With customer satisfaction and acquisition/conversion as priorities, it backs this viewpoint.
The importance of data in the digital world
These digital touchpoints create data, and that data is important. As Vishal Bhalla, SVP and Enterprise Chief Experience Officer, and Market Chief Human Resource Officer, Atrium Health notes: “We have this treasure trove of data; we have to be able to leverage that and operationalize it in a very simple manner so that the right data goes to the right teammate at the right time.”
Many organisations have yet to find that treasure trove. Only 37% of survey participants believe they have a well-developed enterprise data architecture that enables high-quality, data-driven, and personalized CX.
There are some common challenges with Greg Van den Heuvel, EVP and GM at Precisely EngageOne, noting: “Many organizations have very siloed teams when it comes to managing data, and don’t have powerful enough data organizations to analyze incoming information and translate it into actionable insights.”
Only challenges include:
- For 48%, the data is siloed across the various touchpoints, making it difficult to access the data (48%)
- 45% of survey participants believe their data isn’t relevant or current
- 41% believe they have not invested enough in CX
Solving the challenge
Van den Heuvel commented: “Legacy systems are the most common theme holding organizations back from achieving their CX goals – and 54% of survey participants agree. If your company is aiming to achieve a consistent and holistic approach to customer engagement, taking advantage of a single, unified platform is significantly more effective than using a disjointed toolset to try and accomplish that objective.”
If data-driven CX is the goal, there is hope. 90% of organisations are either experimenting, developing the capabilities or already have data-driven CX. Many are at the start of the journey with several goals in sight, including personalisation, improved conversion rate, omnichannel CX, and predictive capabilities.
The starting point is often a modern integrated customer communications management platform, with 80% already invested or planning to invest in one. However, Data integration, data integrity or data enrichment technologies is even more important for many, with 46% planning to invest in that technology, the highest.
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
This is a well-written report with a scattering of comments from industry leaders and statistics to back up the viewpoints offered. However, the sample is small and cross-industry. One must be careful about some of the conclusions drawn if they do not fit expectations within specific industries. It is, however, worth the read.
What is clear is that whilst the pandemic forced companies to go digital, they are now taking a breath. Considering where they are spending money, and also looking to longer-term strategies to ensure that any captured data is usable and delivers value to the business.
For those companies wanting to learn more about CX and Data integration, data integrity or data enrichment technologies, Precisely is hosting its annual conference Trust 22 from June 21. It will include information about product strategy and more industry insights from analysts from IDC and Forrester.