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55% of CX leaders have reduced budgets for new programs

360 MagazineĀ 
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55% of CX leaders have reduced budgets for new programs

Ongoing economic challenges are causing more than half those responsible for leading customer experience (CX) management in their organizations to cut back on additional spending, according to a report produced by Execs in the Know and ACT Software.

Based in Pheonix, Ariz, Execs in the Know is a community of CX professionals that run a series of events and summits. It surveyed more than 100 members at one of its gatherings to produce its report, 2022 CX Leaders Trends & Insights: Corporate Edition.

Not surprisingly, the budget cutbacks for new CX programs was coupled with additional scrutiny over the results of existing efforts. For example, 80 per cent of those surveyed said they have increased their focus on the return on investment (ROI) for CX. About a third, or 30 per cent, said they had also cancelled CX programs and projects, and nearly as many (28 per cent) have initiated a hiring freeze.

The report suggested that instead of new programs, CX leaders may be reallocating or putting more funds towards acquiring additional tools. Only 31 per cent of those surveyed, for instance, described themselves as “very satisfied” or satisfied with their CX tech stack.

CX leaders also admitted to gaps or blind spots that they need to address. Less than half, or 38 per cent, said they are measuring CX across all channels, and only 28 per cent said their firm does a good job of providing a seamless transition across channels.

As more organizations offer a hybrid work model, meanwhile, nearly a quarter of those surveyed said they didn’t know if employees like customer service agents perform any better when doing their jobs from home.

“While the growth story was generally positive in 2022, there was a definitive shift in the vitality of growth. There was both a steep drop in the number of respondents describing their business as ‘Growing Quickly,’ and an uptick in those describing their business as in decline,” the report’s author wrote. “Belts are expected to be further tightened in 2023, which should have most CX leaders reconsidering their operational approach, especially in striving to contribute to the financial strategies on the wider organization.”

360 Magazine Insight

While the sample size for the Execs In the Know report was fairly small, the responses came from those with a VP title or higher, and spanned a good mixture of both B2C and B2B firms. The report paints a picture of CX leaders who are clearly concerned by economic conditions but are forging ahead in a number of areas.

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Most encouraging, perhaps, is the ongoing investment in agent performance. You might expect CX leaders to feel more pressure than every to deflect calls or reduce handle times, but 55 per cent said they were focused on increasing agents’ problem solving/product knowledge. Proficiency/speed to resolution came second at 47 per cent.

The report also showed a decline in how well CX leaders feel their organizations understanding of which channels their customers prefer to use. This makes sense, given the huge shift towards digital channels over the last few years, including some (like chatbots) that may still be somewhat unproven.

What’s helpful about the design of this ungated report is clear indications of new questions that were asked, as well as sub-sections that show where CX leaders are investing in response to business challenges. There are also plenty of anecdotes and stories shared from identified CX leaders, making this a particularly helpful resource.

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