What does the future hold for CX?
Global feedback company Netigate has conducted a survey into the future of customer experience. The resulting report details findings into the current strategies of CX professionals, their key goals for the future, and the specific areas that businesses are seeking to improve in 2021.
Earlier this year, Netigate asked 70 CX professionals about their approach to customer experience in 2021 and beyond. They were asked about the challenges they currently face and their plans for the future. The purpose of the report is to give people working in customer experience an insight into how other businesses are strategising when it comes to CX. The report is also supported by insights from CX experts Clare Muscutt, Matt Watkinson and Ian Golding, who also recently joined Netigate for their Future of CX webinar.
63% of companies currently have a dedicated person or team focusing solely on CX
When we talk about CX, we’re referring to everything that a customer experiences before, during and after their interaction with a company. We’re talking about their ‘journey’ with a company. These journeys are made up of multiple different touchpoints, happen across a variety of different channels, and can span a wide range of timeframes.
A good customer experience can be the difference between success and failure for a company. If customers are happy, businesses can expect to see improved sales, retention and loyalty. Rates of employee satisfaction are also heightened as a result. Ultimately, it’s our responsibility as CX professionals to manage, shape and improve these experiences. This helps to ensure continued satisfaction for our customers and bottom-line success for our businesses.
Netigate’s research found that the majority of companies currently have a dedicated person or team focusing solely on customer experience. Furthermore, we can also see that 43% of businesses are planning to increase their CX budget over the next two years, with 14% of those planning to do so ‘significantly’. These figures indicate that many businesses are investing more resources into managing and improving the customer experience. This may be no surprise to the CX community, given the highly competitive and consumer-driven markets that we are now operating in.
71% of businesses are using feedback surveys as part of their CX strategy
77% of respondents said that the company website will play a key role in their customer experience strategy. This includes elements from the overall content, to chat functions and forms. This is to be expected, with more consumers making purchases online than ever before—a trend that looks set to continue even beyond the pandemic.
Coming up a close second was feedback surveys, with 71% of respondents citing that they are an integral part of their current and future CX strategies. We already know that actively listening to customers is essential for understanding how we can continue to improve their experiences. But a single customer survey in isolation isn’t the answer. To be effective over time, feedback needs to be integrated into your ongoing CX strategy.
4 tips for effectively using feedback to improve the customer experience
- Implement feedback processes at all touchpoints in the customer journey. This will help you to understand—rather than assume—what customers need and expect from your business at different stages. This can take many forms; from a survey widget on your website, to an automated survey that is triggered after a call to customer service.
- Define goals and priorities for each part of your feedback process. We shouldn’t be collecting feedback just for the sake of it. Before you start gathering customer feedback, understand why you’re collecting it and what you intend to do with the data you receive. Having clear objectives is going to help you choose the right kind of feedback collection method and bring you the most actionable insights.
- Make feedback an ongoing process. Your customers and their needs are constantly evolving. It’s important that gathering feedback is a well-integrated part of your CX strategy that you come back to continuously. Benchmarking with a metric like the Net Promoter Score (NPS) is also an effective way of tracking your own progress over time and seeing how you compare with your competitors.
- Be ready to act on the feedback you receive. Where companies can fall down with CX feedback is that they fail to put the insights they receive to good use. This comes back to our second point about putting preparations in place to work with the data. What processes are in place to address feedback when it arrives? How are you addressing negative feedback that you receive? Are you showing customers that you’re listening to them? How are you actively using feedback to make the customer experience better?
What’s in store for the future of CX?
Interestingly, only 50% of respondents said they felt proud of their current CX strategy. This suggests that there is still a lot of work to be done to get our approaches right. When respondents were asked what needs to change to ensure CX success over the next 5 years, the following points were highlighted:
- Integrate CX into the overall company strategy.
- Embed CX strategy into the company culture.
- Streamline processes and values when it comes to CX.
- Invest in better tools for measuring the customer experience.
- Put better processes in place for collecting customer feedback and acting on data.
Essentially, there are two main areas of consensus among the community: The first being that CX needs to be embraced across the entire organisation to see the best outcomes. The second, that measuring and understanding what customers really want will continue to be the ultimate aim for future success.
For more stats, expert insights, and inspiration download the full Future of CX report here.