CX for 2024 Offers Opportunities, Challenges
Companies will use multiple strategies, including generative artificial intelligence and more traditional approaches, to maximize their customer experience (CX) benefits next year, according to a new report from Forrester Research.
The firm expects CX to improve across the globe, with half of all companies experimenting with customer-facing generative AI and reporting CX metrics to investors. However, Forrester cautioned, overwhelmed CX teams will need to turn away work and only a few organizations will be able to connect CX metrics to business outcomes.
While leading firms will start using generative AI to enhance CX, others are likely to “remain in the past, embracing traditions that threaten their organizations’ ability to provide differentiating experiences across the widest range of customers. CX leaders must help their companies evolve beyond their default settings,” the firm said.
This will include the adoption of generative AI, which Forrester predicts will reverse the global CX slide that has taken place over the past three years. Behind-the-scenes generative AI will help agents provide faster and better answers, meaning more first-contact resolutions, which will “leave the customer feeling respected,” it said.
Half of large global firms will experiment with customer-facing generative AI, according to Forrester. Companies that succeed will test generative AI with employees before deploying it in customer-facing experiences, allowing them to build expertise with the technology in a low-risk environment.
But before companies see real benefits from generative AI, they will need to overcome several challenges, the firm said.
Forrester cautions that in their effort to improve CX, many firms will start down the wrong path. One-third of them will launch experiences that are biased, inaccessible, or harmful, it projects.
Yet, even though half of all global firms will report CX metrics, only a paltry 5 percent will link those metrics to financials. Forrester added that more than half (56 percent) of CX leaders say they can’t prove the business impact of CX changes. Rather than trying to estimate the impact, Forrester recommends that companies first build a measurement framework to connect to CX business results and prove the CX team’s contribution to the business.
A lack of resources will also be a negating factor, with two in five CX teams saying it will cause them to turn away work. At the same time, nearly half of the most customer-obsessed companies will handle some of the rush of CX work by assigning it to other teams with some CX expertise, Forrester reported.
And while budgets for CX have increased at many organizations—more than half have convinced their companies to invest more in a customer focus—the increase isn’t enough for many, according to Forrester. CX professionals haven’t convinced senior executives to invest enough money in their CX programs, with slightly more than half of CX decision makers expecting budgets to stay flat or grow by just 1 percent to 4 percent in 2024. As a result, the gap between CX teams’ responsibilities and resources will continue to widen, Forrester said.
Forrester recommends that organizations prioritize processes carefully, fully investing available resources and advocating for larger budgets.