Organizations continue to intensify their focus on customer experience (CX), realizing significant benefits are possible if they pull together traditional customer service, stronger multichannel customer touchpoints and social outreach. These business now see CX as a key business objective, not only for attracting customers, but also for customer retention, driving revenue and creating brand advocates.
In a recent article in Forbes Magazine, Fidelity Investments highlighted the benefits of some of its recent customer experience efforts. Tom Herrick, Senior Vice President, was quoted as saying:
“We have 170 branches through the country and [our] customer will be able to have a seamless continued experience throughout. The tools on the web, over the phone, account information, authentication verification. We are all about removing stumbling blocks that make it hard to do business with the company. That has been the real hunt—know the customer, make the interaction seamless and allow them to go where they want to go, how they want to interact with us.”
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This combination of customer experience focus and cross-channel communication is a common theme that we are continuing to hear from our company’s customers as well.
In a recent survey we commissioned of 65 organizations in the financial services and insurance industry from around the globe, improving CX ranked as the number one reason companies evaluate and ultimately select a customer communication management (CCM) solution, technology that allows enterprises to create data-driven, personalized communications over any channel. Along with CX improvement, the surveyed organizations indicated they were also very interested in enabling the transformation to digital as well as the design, management and delivery of omnichannel communications.
This same focus on customer experience was echoed in an earlier survey, in which users of CCM technology rated the benefits they felt such a solution offered to their organizations. In that study, 61% of respondents said they were looking forward to an improved customer experience.
Interestingly, when we examined only the subset of respondents whose original goal in implementing a CCM system was to reduce overall costs, 71% of those customers saw cost improvements of 10% or greater, but 100% saw an increase in customer satisfaction of 10% or greater. Clearly, better CCM is resulting in higher customer satisfaction for these respondents.
More companies are putting effort into becoming customer-centric than they were five years ago. As CX professionals look to the future, there are four areas that are gaining critical focus:
1. The importance of data quality. Companies are challenged by the pace of change today. The larger the volume of data they gather about their consumers, the greater the resources required to put that data to use to enhance the customer experience. Data quality issues abound, and the more data there is, the worse the data quality problem gets. Fixing these data quality issues will be a key task for CX professionals going forward.
2. Measurement and reporting. Just as digital marketing has become metrics-driven, CX results will also be measured more and more granularly, benefiting from the development of standard definitions, flows and metrics. All of this will lead to more consistency in CX reporting between marketers and organizations.
3. A focus on retention and loyalty. Organizations are devoting more investment and resources to onboarding and retaining customers, realizing the importance of paying close attention to what happens after someone becomes a customer.
4. Moving to a 360-degree view. CX leaders are expecting a big shift toward future solutions that enable a 360-degree view of the customer, including the ability to analyze their actions. In all likelihood, these solutions will leverage and combine artificial intelligence, virtual reality and voice analysis to enable lower cost-to-service.
Overall, CX remains an emerging field, and leaders are looking to continuously reinvent the customer experience to allow customers to manage their affairs from wherever they are, regardless of time difference, device or channel. The goal is to create an entirely new, and elevated, customer experience.