Organisations today should address the “customer experience disconnect” as it could lose them business or even jeopardise their chances of survival in competitive markets where consumer loyalty can no longer be taken for granted, according to a recent report by Dimension Data.
Dimension Data’s CX Benchmarking Report has revealed found that most Middle East and Africa 90 percent of business respondents recognise customer experience as an important competitive differentiator. However, the research revealed that nearly a quarter of respondents (24 percent) are dissatisfied with the customer experience they deliver, and only 10 percent believe they’re delivering experiences that would lead customers to recommend them to others.
In addition to being a ompetitive differentiator for businesses, CX is also vital for driving loyalty (85 percent), revenue growth (73 percent), and cost reduction (55 percent).
Despite this, the research revealed that nearly a quarter of respondents (24 percent) are dissatisfied with the customer experience they deliver, and only 10 percent believe they’re delivering experiences that would lead customers to recommend them to others.
This is resulting in an ‘artificial reality’, where companies are talking about CX, but not delivering on it, creating a gap between their CX ambitions and actual CX capabilities. Businesses are looking at several CX technologies, such as customer analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and digital integration, but aren’t currently able to implement them properly.
Nemo Verbist, Group Executive for Customer Experience at Dimension Data, said, “Customer experience must be higher on the agenda for every business and the whole organisation should get behind it. Brands acknowledge how crucial customer experience is, yet so few are making it a board level responsibility, leaving it siloed or delegating it to individual managers. There’s an artificial reality between organisations’ CX ambitions and making real change that benefits the customer. This disconnect must be resolved. Brands must make customer experience the priority they say it is.”
The research also revealed that many brands are turning to technology to improve customer experience, but often without a clear strategy. Some 24 percent of businesses said the digital solutions they’ve rolled out (such as chatbots and AI) don’t provide the functionality their customers need, while around half of respondents (61 percent) said customer awareness of such technologies is the biggest barrier to adoption.
Verbist added, “Rolling out a technology only to claim it doesn’t provide the functionality required, or that customers are unaware of it, isn’t a failure of the technology, but a failure of the planning. Technology can give businesses many powerful tools to improve and support great customer experience, but it’s not simply a case of flicking a switch and it will work. Brands need to back their investments in technology with investments in their people, processes, and planning.”
Nancy Jamison, Principal Analyst for Customer Care at Frost & Sullivan, advised that brands should look to address these areas of disconnect within their business and measure, benchmark and report effectively to ensure such disconnects don’t creep back in.
“Customer experience benchmarking is more important than ever. Brands need to invest in customer experience but they also need to know that those investments are paying off. And if they’re not, they need to know what to change. Right now, it looks like brands aren’t putting the right kind of focus on customer experience and, as a result, they’re not seeing the outcomes they want. That’s bad for them, and their customers,” she said.