Why Your Business Needs a CX Shakeup, Stat
AS PART OF ActionIQ’s inaugural CX IQ Index, we asked hundreds of consumers and businesses across the United States and United Kingdom to share their thoughts on customer experience (CX).
What did we learn?
For one thing, data security and privacy are more than hot topics in the digital marketing ecosystem—they’re essential to customer satisfaction. Consumers were more likely to say data protection is integral to CX than any other characteristic. Then there’s personalization. Businesses are racing to make sure they can resolve customer identities and effectively target shoppers amid the death of the cookie, but consumers are much more concerned with companies understanding and catering to their needs than knowing who they are.
But arguably the biggest takeaway was this: While companies are generally confident they’re providing superior CX, their customers don’t agree.
When businesses were asked to rate overall satisfaction with their customer experience for getting information, making purchases, or resolving issues, 61 percent said their customers were “very satisfied.” But consumers tell a different story. Only 23 percent of consumers said they were “very satisfied” with brand experiences and interactions over the previous three months. That’s a gap of 38 percent, and it makes one thing crystal clear: Brands must rethink how they approach customer experience.
SAME STORY, DIFFERENT INDUSTRY
The size of the CX gap may vary by industry, but the trend remains the same. Across media and publishing (69 percent versus 27 percent), financial services (67 percent versus 26 percent) and retail (50 percent versus 21 percent), brands consistently overestimate their CX performance.
The numbers are even more striking when you drill down into specific verticals. For example, the performance of media and publishing is buoyed by one vertical: streaming services. While 42 percent of consumers say they’re “very satisfied” with the experiences they’ve had with streaming services over the previous three months, far fewer said the same for online (23 percent) and print media (16 percent).
Every industry has leaders and laggards, but all verticals have one thing in common: significant room for improvement.
CX BY THE NUMBERS
No organization sets out to base decisions on faulty information. The businesses we surveyed genuinely believed they were providing their customers with exceptional experiences that would keep them coming back for more.
That’s why solving the root cause of the CX gap is a question of measurement. How are companies measuring CX? If they’re not, why not? If they are, how accurate and comprehensive is the measurement program? Customers won’t always tell you how they’re really feeling, but their actions will.
Businesses must be able to identify and analyze customer signals—the ones that speak to preferences, brand affinity, and churn risk. And they must be able to do so at scale and across channels.
By gathering and centralizing this information for customer-facing teams —as opposed to keeping it locked up behind IT and analytics teams—brands will help the people responsible for CX truly know their customers and fine-tune their strategies accordingly.
This is what you base decisions on—not gut instincts or assumptions, but quantitative and qualitative data that spans everything from customer behaviors to satisfaction surveys. Many companies believe they know what their customers want, but people know for themselves—and they show you with each one of their actions.
START SPEAKING THE SAME LANGUAGE
You may have noticed a trend in recent years—the rise of the CX professional. Chief experience officers, or CXOs, are joining the C-suite at an exponential rate, according to Gartner. And as of 2020, a study from Econsultancy found that 95 percent of leading organizations believe CX job roles are important to growing their businesses. I applaud any organization that takes CX seriously, but creating a new position isn’t always the answer. Empowering your business with accurate, accessible, and actionable data is.
If hiring someone with “CX” in their title was enough to deliver better customer experiences, the CX gap our research revealed wouldn’t exist. More important is creating alignment across your entire organization by making sure you have a common language for discussing, testing, and measuring CX. After all, what superior CX means to a customer service representative may be markedly different from a marketer or sales rep. But each one of these individuals has valuable insights to share about improving customer experiences—and each one will be necessary to do so.
If you want to bridge the gap between perception and performance, start by breaking down the data silos between your teams and making sure everyone is reading from the same playbook. Once customer insights are in the hands of the people who need them—and everyone knows what to measure and how—companies can start working to ensure customer sentiment matches their own.
Tamara Gruzbarg is vice president of strategic services at ActionIQ. Gruzbarg has led data initiatives across multiple industries, including digital, publishing, finance, research, consulting, and retail. Previously, Gruzbarg was senior vice president of data, analytics, and consumer insight at Meredith Corporation (formerly Time Inc.) and vice president of CRM and analytics at Stuart Weitzman (acquired by Coach Inc.).