What have been the vital statistics that guided customer-facing professionals through 2016? We take a look back at the research and studies that have revealed the most about the evolution of sales, marketing, customer service and customer experience over the last 12 months.
1. CMOs say they will own customer experience
April: Research by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and Marketo found that 86% of senior marketers believe that they will have responsibility for customer experience management in most enterprises by 2020.
The research stated the main objective of customer experience management should be to achieve a single view of the customer, and allow engagement in two-way, personalised conversations across devices, channels, locations and physical objects – a mandate most marketers believe they are already in the process of striving towards.
2. Poor customer data costs brands
November: Brands are losing an average of 5.9% in annual revenue as a result of bad customer data, according to Royal Mail and DataIQ.
And if there was any doubt about the detrimental effect poor and outdated data can have, the research also found that on average, 19.8% of customers defect from companies over the course of a year, as a result.
3. Silos damaging digital transformation
August: A survey of contact centre managers by industry body CCA Global found 95% of respondents frustrated by departmental silos, stating they were damaging digital transformation in the contact centre.
Despite the fact that 46% of respondents said a digitally transformed customer experience could be a real opportunity to differentiate from competition, it seems that integration worries across the company are holding many contact centre projects back.
4. Chatbots to take over customer service?
December: The term ‘chatbot’ only became part of the public lexicon this year, yet such is the hyperbole surrounding bots that now 80% of big brands say they’ll have their own within the next 3 years, according to an Oracle study.
Over the 12 months, chatbots have become part of the conversation in customer service roles, predominantly; helping to free up precious time for support staff by automating customer queries in their early stages. Many bots are still work in progress, as a number of stories revealed across the year.
5. CDOs should lead digital strategy
February: Research from IDC stated that 89% of global decision-makers saw the future of their digital strategy being placed in the hands of a chief digital officer (CDO), yet only 28% currently have one.
6. Ad blocking hits US media owners hard
May: 11.7% of online display ad impressions were blocked in the US in 2015, and Optimal.com research found that ad blocking was set to hit media owners to the tune of $12.1bn in lost display ad revenues by 2020, an increase from $3.9bn in 2016.
To add to advertisers’ woes, an article in Campaign reported that up to 30% of the online advertising market had been vulnerable to ad fraud in 2015.
7. CRM software market increases
May: The CRM market continues to flourish, with worldwide customer relationship management (CRM) software totalled $26.3 billion in 2015, up 12.3% from 23.4 billion in 2014.
The stats, from Gartner, also found that CRM systems from Salesforce, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and Adobe accounted for 45% of the total market last year. Both key statistics are forecast to increase once year-end 2016 data is collated.
8. UK consumers put £20 value on personal data
November: How much is your customers’ data worth? A study by Aimia suggests people currently value their data much lower than they should. Surveying 15,000 people across multiple countries, the loyalty analytics experts found that in the UK, people value their online data such as browsing history and online purchases at around £20.
9. Too many channels before customers resolve queries
August: Fragmented and siloed business structures mean that customers have to work harder than ever to resolve their issues.
Research by The Northridge Group surveyed 1,000 US adults to reveal that 55% are using two or more communication channels to contact a company or brand before an issue is resolved.
10. Experience drives most wins for tech CEOs
July: Whilst technology providers continue to drive customer experience, experience continues to the technology providers forward.
Indeed, overall 42% of CEOs from leading tech providers cited improvements in customer experience and service as the key change that has “driven more wins” compared with the combination of new or better products was only 15%, according to a Gartner study.
11. Marketing leaders in charge of IT
March: A study from Squiz has revealed that 66% of marketing leaders state they are now in charge of IT spending in their business.
However, marketers find their budgets for IT spending to be prohibitive, with 52% saying that ‘being asked to do more for less’ is the biggest obstacle they face. This is bridging the gap between IT and marketing for many, though, as marketers are working more frequently with IT departments to better integrate the technology they have.
12. Click-and-collect boom hits Europe
January: It’s not just the UK where the click-and-collect boom has taken hold. Surveying over 15,000 adults from the UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy and Spain, Forrester Research found that 54% of consumers prefer click-and-collect over other options when purchasing online.
13. Marketers play on fear of missing out
September: Fear-Of-Missing-Out (FOMO) is the worry that others are having more exciting experiences than you are, and is the real deal: Brits are 39% more likely to engage with brand messages that promise to alleviate their social anxiety of missing out, according to Mailjet research.
14. Train operators the worst for customer service
September: Not the most surprising statistic of the year, given the public disdain aimed at certain train operators in the UK this year. Engine’s third annual Customer Experience Survey states that 38% of consumers rank train operators and public transport as the worst ‘sector’ for service, with utility companies ranked second by 36% of respondents.
15. UK reliant on contact centres
January: There are now 6,200 contact centres in the UK, with 734,000 agent positions. This is a marked increase compared with figures taken from 2009, a period market analysts, ContactBabel calls the industry's “decline”, when many UK call centres were outsourced abroad to save costs. Such is the boom in contact centre roles in the UK that over 4% of the working population are employed in contact centres.
16. Loyalty schemes go unused
February: Today, there are 3.3 billion loyalty programme members in the US alone - representing an average of 29 per household. In the UK, however, this overdose of reward in retail has led to 48% of us failing to claim points or paper vouchers through loyalty schemes we’re signed up to, according to research from iVend Retail.