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Why overuse of customer engagement technologies is harming CX

4th Jul 2019
Overloaded CX technology
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On average, marketers are already using 10 customer engagement technology systems and are committed to further investment. But this complexity is causing confusion. 

In a recent post, I discussed some of the findings from a recent study by The Harris Poll and RedPoint Global. Addressing The Gaps In Customer Experience was based on the results of two surveys. One involved 454 senior marketing and customer experience executives, and the second involved 3,002 adult consumers. The participants in both surveys resided in the United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom.

As the title of the research report suggests, the primary objective of this study was to identify where and how the perceptions of marketers and consumers about the quality of customer experiences differ. I discussed some of those findings in my earlier post, concluding that the "headline" finding from the research was that marketers rate the quality of their customer experience capabilities significantly higher than consumers.

92% of the marketers said their ability to provide an exceptional customer experience is excellent or good. But when the consumers were asked to think about the companies they interact with on a regular basis, only 80% rated these companies as excellent or good at providing great customer experiences.

The research also provides several interesting insights about how marketers view the technologies they use to deliver customer experiences. Somewhat surprisingly, the marketers in this study view technology as essential for providing great customer experiences and as a source of major challenges.

The strategy-execution gap

First, it's important to put the findings about technology in the right context. Most of the marketers in this study were satisfied with their customer experience strategy, but not with its execution. More than half (57%) of the surveyed marketers said their company has the right customer experience strategy, but isn't able to execute it effectively. An even higher percentage (63%) said their company doesn't execute its customer experience strategy "very well."

When the survey participants were asked about the challenges associated with closing the strategy-execution gap, the top three challenges identified were:
  • The complexity of technology solutions (39% of respondents).
  • Lack of cross-functional commitment to strategy (35%).
  • The inability to integrate new capabilities with existing processes or technology (33%).

Satisfaction with technology

On average, the marketers in the study said their company is currently using 10 customer engagement technology systems. About one in five of the survey respondents said their company is using more than 20 customer engagement systems.
 
The sheer number of technology systems is creating a challenge for marketers. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of the marketers in this study said the number of customer engagement systems they are using makes it harder for them to provide a seamless customer experience.
 
Only about a third (more or less) of the surveyed marketers were very satisfied with their ability to leverage technology to achieve several key customer experience objectives, as the following table shows:
 
CX technology table
 
Despite the challenges associated with CX-related technologies, marketing leaders are committed to a technology-enabled future. More than nine in ten (91%) of the marketers in this study said that investing in marketing and CX technologies is a key initiative for their company.
 
21% of the surveyed marketers said they expect the number of customer engagement systems used by their company will increase over the next year, and even more (39%) think the number will increase over the next five years.
 
The takeaway
 
These findings make the point that marketers and other CX professionals have more work to do to capture the full benefits of marketing and other customer engagement technologies.
 
But these technologies are evolving rapidly, so it shouldn't be surprising that marketers and other CX professionals are still learning how to maximise their value. In my view, this is to be expected, and it's not a business-threatening problem unless the "proficiency gap" becomes too great.
 

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