Why customer experience needs to top every business leader’s agenda

Why customer experience needs to top every business leader’s agenda

Customer Experience (CX) has climbed right to the top of the corporate agenda with companies committing more resources and talent to the discipline. According to analyst Gartner’s 2019 Customer Experience Management Survey, nine in 10 organisations now have a chief experience officer (CXO) or chief customer officer (CCO) or equivalents, compared to more than 35 per cent of organisations lacking one in 2017.

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The study, which covered a variety of departments where CX efforts are run and supported, such as marketing, IT, customer service, operations, sales and stand-alone CX departments, found that responsibility for CX budgets and initiatives has begun to shift into the marketing department.

While there is a natural synergy between the disciplines, this shouldn’t mean other departments absolve themselves of responsibility for it. Rialto Consultancy believes the importance of CX must be recognised by all departments, including back-office ones.

CX is far more than good customer service and CX strategies should touch all areas of an organisation from the first moment that a customer comes into contact with the brand or its products and services to after sales-fulfilment and beyond. This requires close collaboration though and robust governance across different departments.

But Gartner’s study cautions that to avoid different leaders managing conflicting CX strategies and programmes, CX leaders “must meet regularly, share information, discuss common problems, evaluate duplicative vendors and efforts, and avoid confusion over accountability”.

Behaviour analytics software company Hotjar surveyed 2,000 CX professionals for its State of Customer Experience 2019 study and found that long wait/response times are the number one frustration when it comes to customer experience (20 per cent), followed by employees who do not understand customer needs and issues/questions unanswered/unresolved (both at 18 per cent) and too much automation/not enough of a human touch (14 per cent).

Consider how many business functions these frustrations touch alongside customer service? Operations, sales, marketing, IT as well as HR and learning and development.

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For example, if employees do not understand customer needs, it means something is going seriously wrong with an organisation’s people processes including induction-onboarding and training and development.

Moreover, it also demonstrates lack of overall leadership because it is the responsibility of all line managers and senior leaders to ensure that the right behaviours and attitudes are embedded in the culture of the company to, in turn, ensure these translate into the actions of all employees.

And there is another piece of the CX puzzle that can be directly traced back to those in charge of people strategies. Great CX relies on great people and is therefore increasingly linked to employee experience (EX). To attract and retain the best talent, organisations are increasingly under pressure to deliver great employee experience.

So it is no coincidence that alongside the rise of CX professionals, we are also seeing the emergence of roles such as chief employee experience officer, and director of digital workplace.

One of the latest trends in HR is the concept of the “workplace as an experience”, where every aspect of work is carefully designed, arranged, and controlled to energise and inspire employees.

The aim is to create a deep, experiential connection between individuals and their workplace that begins with onboarding strategies and continues throughout their employment lifecycle with the organisation. The theory is that this then works for the benefit of all stakeholders but especially customers.

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There is no doubt that CX is the most keenly fought battlegrounds as organisations strive to compete in the digital economy. The challenge for organisations is to put the strategies and governance in place that ensures that leaders at all levels and from all functions view delivering it as part of their remit.

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