Over the past couple of years it has been interesting to see how the analyst Ovum has started ranking customer experience as the number one strategic imperative for company executives today. Based on conversations with their clients, Ovum has repeatedly ranked improving the customer experience as more important for executives today than reducing costs or increasing profit.
But it takes a while for the message to sink in. Hopefully this new research from Gartner, where they interviewed 300 of their Research Circle members, emphasises the point. If you don’t offer a great customer experience today then you might not get a chance to focus on those other strategic issues anyway.
Gartner suggests that by 2018 more than half of all companies will have modified the way they do business in order to improve the customer experience. Getting past the halfway mark within three years sounds good, but is it worth celebrating? It also means that approximately half of all companies are not changing the way they do business in a way that can improve the customer experience.
The problem is that it’s not simple to change. A complete review of the experience your customers have with your brand is not just about adding the option to interact via Twitter. The entire journey from when a consumer first becomes aware of your brand, researches products, and eventually becomes a customer all needs to be considered.
Collecting and analysing feedback from customers is the most popular way to start initiating change. Launching internal and external communication campaigns to help employees and customers understand the brand better can follow from a data-gathering exercise. Reconfiguring the current process is the second most popular step followed by a move to self-service systems.
The important message to remember though is that investing in the complete customer experience is very different to the days when customer service was just considered to be an essential cost to the business. If you want to grow your business, it is essential to invest in the experience that customers have with your brand.
All the industry analysts are now saying this, but what’s your view? Leave a comment here on the blog or get in touch via my LinkedIn.
Photo by Stavos licensed under Creative Commons