When 81 per cent of organizations surveyed by Pega say “people issues” represent their top customer experience (CX) challenge, the company is pretty sure who and what they’re talking about: the conflicts between IT departments and the rest of the business.
In its report released Wednesday, The Four False Narratives Of Customer Experience, Cambridge, Mass.-based Pega Systems — which provides customer relationship management (CRM) applications and other tools — aims to debunk common misperceptions around CX.
This includes a tendency towards complacency, a myopic focus on analytics and the lack of an executive-level sponsor. Just over a third, or 35 per cent, said they had someone in the C-Suite involved in CX, and those were most often at the director level or below.
While the study’s authors acknowledge the importance of IT in CX, they suggest it shouldn’t be considered the “be-all and end-all,” and leads to skills gaps on the business side, as well as adoption.
“Instead of trying to drive CX initiatives through the IT organization, which is not an end user of the provided tools and isn’t accountable for key financial growth metrics like revenue, EBITDA, ARPU, CLV, and so on, firms should instead hire or develop CX champions within the business.” the report says. “CX investments should be aligned to tangible use cases and KPIs to provide value to those business stakeholders.”
Examples of technologies that better align with business-related CX outcomes include customer data platforms (CDPs) and what Pega Systems called “real-time decision engines,” or applications that can allow a company to assess a customer during a transaction to see if they should do anything to improve an experience.
The goals of these tools, the study added, should be helping companies to develop greater customer empathy in order to drive quick, painless interactions across multiple channels.
That doesn’t mean all channels are created equally, however. The study’s authors recommended investing more in areas like messaging apps, mobile push notifications, chatbots and connected devices over some more traditional means to interact with customers.
“Often, brands fail to act in their own long-term best interests, sacrificing customer lifetime value for short-term financial gains,” the study said, noting that ad-blocking is now used by 26 per cent of online users and that many attempts to infiltrate customers’ inboxes have a one per cent open rate.
“Not only does prioritizing email and digital ads fail the ‘customer-centricity’ test, it also ignores a wealth of emerging, high-potential digital channels.”
While the study rebuked the idea that “analytics will differentiate us,” some of the best practices highlighted included performance simulation, which was being explored by 33 per cent of respondents and looks at how changes in CX will affect things like revenue and churn.
Another, propensity modelling, is allowing organizations to score all their messaging to improve which ones are best for a specific customer. Thirty-seven per cent of those surveyed are using this.
Pega Systems said its research is based on responses from 5,000 CX professionals across 12 countries and seven different industries.
Shane Schick tells stories that help people innovate, and to manage the change innovation brings. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and Yahoo Canada and is the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.