Angry customer

CX is growing in corporate influence - so why are customers still dissatisfied?


Businesses are making more senior customer experience appointments, and their strategies are becoming more sophisticated - but their good work is being undone by digital shortcomings. 

6th Oct 2021

The influence of customer experience management is growing within many organisations, with senior CX professionals being appointed and customer strategies becoming more advanced. However, while businesses are convinced this is translating into improved service levels, customers beg to differ - with digital interactions the main culprit. 

These are the findings of the latest Global Customer Benchmarking Report (GCXBR) from NTT, an annual survey assessing the global state of play for customer experience across multiple sectors and markets. 

The report, which interviewed 1,359 professionals across 34 global markets and 14 different sectors, reiterated the shift in CX strategy and focus that in recent months has seen major players such as McDonald's and Volkswagen appointing dedicated CX teams and senior customer experience leaders to oversee large parts of the organisation. 

Key findings in the study included: 

  • 75% of organisations now have ultimate accountability for CX held at the board level, up from 35% in 2020.

  • The rate of organisations with ‘well advanced’ or ‘complete’ CX strategies has more than doubled to 71%, up from 28% in 2020.

  • The rate of organisations reporting being ‘very satisfied’ with their CX has risen to 45%, up from 10% in 2020.

However, despite these significant developments, the Voice of the Customer (VoC) section of the NTT survey was far less encouraging. Whilst 87% of customers did report that they were happy to continue using digital channels at the increased levels triggered by the pandemic, and 38% said that the quality of automated CX systems had improved over the course of the pandemic, there was clear evidence that customers do not share organisations’ optimistic appraisal of the experiences being delivered. 

And in particular, it is digital interactions that are leading to disappointment. 

The research found that over half (52%) of consumers say that digital channels are failing them due to limited capabilities or services, while nearly half (44%) of experience failures reported by respondents were due to digital channels misunderstanding their queries. 

The digital shortcomings are so significant that just 35% reported that they were ‘very satisfied’ with automated CX solutions. 

The findings indicate that customer experiences are still suffering from the well-documented 'Dash to Digital' that occurred during the pandemic, with organisations rushing to accommodate the greater requirement for digital service channels, but prioritising speed of deployment over performance. 

Recent research from the Institute of Customer Service indicated that while customers were understanding of imperfect digital service during the early days of the pandemic, those excuses have now worn thin, and NTT's findings appear to support this. 

Reflecting on the results of the report, Rob Allman, the vice president of customer experience at NTT, noted: “The addition of VoC data this year has shone a spotlight on a really interesting situation. It’s allowed us to spot a – potentially growing – disparity between how businesses assess their own performance and how consumers perceive CX.”

Although the results of the VoC section of the report make for disappointing reading, the fact that there is an evident growing trend of businesses assigning more time and resources to CX is still a definite positive for the sector and customers moving forward. With such a large proportion of customer dissatisfaction being caused by digital shortcomings, it can only be hoped that the senior CX appointments reported in the NTT report will be making digital customer service improvements a priority.

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