Change, Choice, and Adaptability – Three Principles to Guide Companies Through the Customer Experience Tidal Wave
“81% of companies also believe they either have or are close to having a holistic view of their customers. In reality, only 37% of consumers say their favourite retailer understands them.”
— Consumer Conversation report by eConsultancy
Preparing for change and innovation in any industry seems like an obvious choice for today’s savvy businessperson. Public opinion shakes its collective head at former giants like Blockbuster, Kodak and Blackberry and their inability to adapt to the glaring shifts occurring in their sectors, yet this scenario happens time and time again, and likely will continue to happen again because many organisations continue to make the same costly mistakes:
· They fail to keep their technology or product up with the times.
· They focus on their success in the now, without anticipating the future behaviours and needs of their customers.
While some believe that this catastrophe will never happen to their industry, the truth is that it already is — with customer experience. Customers know, now more than ever, where the best deals are and how to get them, which means that they are able to switch from one company to the next with unprecedented ease. Not only that, but they’re also able to voice their opinions about customer service through a wide range of channels (many of which are public), and this increased visibility can have sweeping repercussions.
“51% of customers who left companies blamed their exits on bad online experiences.”
— Consumer Conversation report by eConsultancy
The momentum that Customer Experience Management (CEM) is gaining is expected to affect almost every vertical ranging from public sector energy and utilities all the way down to travel and hospitality. In particular, a 2015 report by research firm Markets and Markets found that CEM is expected to be worth 10.77 Billion USD by 2020 . And while this isn’t surprising to most, what might be is just how quickly and aggressively the rise of customer experience is separating the leaders from the laggards. Forrester Research found that customer experience (CX) leaders saw 17% revenue growth while CX laggards saw only 3% growth ; suffice it to say, those who do not have comprehensive customer experience programs are falling behind like their unlucky predecessors and, without a plan of action to catch up, they will suffer the same fate. So how do the laggards catch up?
“Follow the customer, if they change, we change.”
– Sir Terry Leahy, Former CEO Tesco
They can do so by progressing with industry trends and harnessing technology solutions and service providers that match the maturity and needs of their organization. One critical aspect to cultivating a successful program (regardless of its scale or scope) is the CX team. The services that a CX team provides, should help a company’s program adapt with the changing industry, technology, and trends. Likewise, finding technology providers that offer more flexibility than just point or full-service solutions will enable brands to engage their entire business hierarchy from the ground up. For example, ResponseTek now offers Balanced Services to clients seeking CX solutions that grow with their business. This means they aren’t stuck with just a one-channel solution, and don’t have to expand to an enterprise solution if they aren’t ready. They have the choice to grow their program out incrementally, in small steps, just as their business grows.
More broadly, customer experience technology is undergoing a renaissance where many are arguing that channel solutions are no longer a critical focus, and, instead, the customer journey is where the real understanding and value hides. Similarly, the role of emotions has also been a key focus, especially in 2016, driving new technology to track customer feelings and how they affect business. Predicted to be a core competitive differentiator, emotions are driving CX technology innovations such as:
- Speech analytics and language processing platforms that find emotional data in voice recordings.
- IVR and phone routing mechanisms that transfer customers to agents based on the emotion detected in their voice
- Text analytics that are able to mine unstructured data to find critical emotional sentiment.
Clearly, the CX landscape is chock-full of change, and making sure you are adaptable to it is essential for brand success. If CX laggards understand the changes occurring in the environment, and harness the growing range of choices that are available to them, they’ll be able to swim and even thrive in the CX tidal wave—rather than sink in it—the latter being a fate we have all seen too often with the once successful brands of yesterday.
 “Customer Experience Management Market worth 10.77 Billion USD by 2020.” www.marketsandmarkets.com 2015.
 Forrester Research Inc., “Customer Experience Drives Revenue Growth.” June 21, 2016.