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TIME FOR A REVOLUTION

How to Beat the CX Slump

www.ebm.media NOVEMBER 2019


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Introduction Has customer experience stalled? There are certainly indicators that suggest as much. Consumers question whether businesses are really taking their feedback seriously – with just 11% believing that to be the case. Meanwhile a rather weak 12% of people feel that brands have made significant improvements to the customer experience in recent years1. The Forrester US Customer Experience (CX) Index, 20192 shows that most brands are only achieving the dizzy heights of “ok” at the moment.

59% 59% 62%

20% 23% 21%

17% 16% 15%

3% 2% 2%

Very poor

1% 0% 0%

Poor 2017

Ok 2018

Good 2019

Fig. 1: Forrester CX Index 2019

1

2019 CCW Market Study | Trends In Customer Experience Design & Strategy

2. The US Customer Experience Index, 2019, Forrester Research, Inc., June 11, 2019.

Excellent


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INTRODUCTION

16% 33%

Leaders

Laggards

51% Followers

Fig. 2: Split of Leaders, Followers & Laggards

That’s the view from the customer side. But how are CX professionals feeling? For the third year in a row, we have surveyed CX professionals from around the world, and the news is pretty depressing. The gulf between those programmes that are delivering on the promise of business success and those that remain just a "feedback programme" is getting wider. This is a concern, but also a great opportunity for those organisations that can get it right. If you ever wanted to differentiate yourself on experience, the time is now! So are you a Leader or are you a Laggard? Are you in the elite 16% of CX teams who expect significant increase in investment next year? That number is down on the 22% who ranked as Leaders in 2018. The problem is that CX is hard. It’s one thing to buy a flashy Voice of the Customer platform and slap the words “Customers at the heart of everything” on your website, but the truth is that actually driving real business change based on customer insight represents a real challenge. It takes serious planning, requires a range of diverse skills, and needs evidence of financial success. In last year’s report, we identified the five habits of successful CX professionals. They were: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Define Goals and Business Outcomes Think Innovation Listen to More Voices, Combine More Sources Focus on Customer-Centric Culture Continuously Re-think

Many of the issues we addressed in these habits haven’t been resolved. This isn’t entirely surprising, a year isn’t that long for most businesses. But the data we’ve gathered suggests that in some cases, we’re back to pre-2017 levels. This is a worry. Now more than ever, getting the customer experience right is a key differentiator across many industries. What is needed is for CX programmes to shift from “measuring reality” to “changing reality“. In short, CX must drive change. No CX programme is ever “finished” but there are two approaches to take to keep things moving forward.

1. Evolution: When you are in a stage of getting established, or into a solid period of empowering more and more people to make decisions, or slowly but surely generating ROI, then it’s all about evolution. Building on what you have, day by day.

2. Revolution: What if you’re stuck? What if, despite your best efforts, the impact just isn’t there? Well then, it’s time for a revolution. A more fundamental shift not only in what you’re doing, but how you’re doing it.


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INTRODUCTION

The trick is to know when you need which approach – and over time, you will need both. If you’ve just made a big change, let things settle down and become part of your culture. Then, as long as you are making progress, evolution is the way forward. But when improvements tail off, you hit a plateau, and when you find you’re spinning your wheels, it’s time to shake things up and spark a revolution. In our survey we asked our audience whether they felt they needed evolution or revolution in the coming year. Most think that an evolutionary approach is right for them, but close to a quarter of our audience are ready for a revolution. Bring it on!

Key Takeaways

67%

This report is not intended to be a depressing gaze into the abyss. We see a huge opportunity for CX teams to evolve, grow and drive business change. But it requires action. Here, we have identified three catalysts. Areas to focus on that will not only boost the success of your CX initiatives – but also improve your ability to prove that success. This is the time to be bold. If you’re short of time (and who isn’t’?) here’s a quick overview of the three catalysts that will help you identify whether 2020 is a year for evolution or revolution – or indeed, a bit of both!

Evolution

26% Revolution

7% Neither/Don't Know

Fig. 3: Respondents advocating an Evolution or a Revolution in their organisation

1) Raise one rallying cry: A CX metric or disjointed programme is not going to create a wave of people desperate to drive change. Feedback is the catalyst particularly when combined with operational, financial and behavioural data – and then add the human element, telling stories that motivate people to want to change something. Technology enables CX insights, but it must make these insights available across your organisation in a way that empowers and enables people to understand what they need to do differently. People make things happen. 2) Focus on better decisions: Too many companies are still focused on collecting data, creating shiny dashboards, then watching obsessively for an improvement in a CX metric such as NPS. But CX programmes need to empower people across the company to make better decisions every day within their area of expertise and really own them. The results and impact of the decisions lead directly to the ability to create better business outcomes. This is critical to saving CX from the slump. 3) Prove your worth: It all comes down to money. To realise more investment in your programme, you need to demonstrate a return on what you have now. Not only from tactical activities, but from strategic initiatives as well. Find out what decisions you are enabling and map them back to reduced costs, increased revenue and retention, and improved employee engagement. It’s the bottom line. Let’s get started…


Countries Represented

Norway

Netherlands

Canada

United Kingdom (UK) Belgium Ireland Germany Switzerland

United States of America (USA)

France Austria

Spain

Algeria

Mexico

Antigua Jamaica Barbados

Costa Rica Panama

Ecuador Guyana

Fig. 4: Regional distribution of respondents by key territories

Canada

4%

Nordics

Chile

3% 2% Paraguay

4%

Argentina

7% Asia-Pac

7%

45%

Australia / New Zealand

US

9% Europe

19% UK

Nigeria Brazil

Colombia

Middle Caribbean East and Central and Africa South America

Senegal

Trinidad and Tobago

Ghana


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INTRODUCTION

Finland Sweden

Russia

Denmark Poland Czech Ukraine Republic Moldova Liechtenstein Serbia Romania

Kazakhstan Armenia

Kosovo Japan

China Italy

Greece

Iran

Afghanistan

Kuwait Pakistan Bahrain (UAE)

India

Bangladesh Myanmar (Burma) Thailand

Taiwan

Vietnam

Philippines

Ethiopia Malaysia

Sri Lanka Uganda Kenya

Singapore Indonesia

Zimbabwe Australia South Africa

Methodology The survey was conducted in August and September 2019 and received over 800 responses. This is one of the world’s largest surveys of Customer Experience professionals. We saw a very similar number of responses to the 2018 survey so we’ve been able to identify some very interesting trends.

Geographical Coverage As with previous years, the majority of responses come from the UK and North America, but we have had significant number of responses from all around the world.

New Zealand


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INTRODUCTION

Industries The audience comes from a range of industries, with a mix of B2B and B2C companies (see below). The full list of industries represented in the study is as follows:

Agriculture Automotive Business Services Consultancy Education Financial Services Hardware/software Health Services Internet Services Manufacturing & Construction Market Research Media and Advertising B2B B2C Both Fig. 5: Distribution of respondents by company type

Other Pharmaceuticals Public organisation Retail & Leisure Telecommunications Travel and Transport Utilities and Energy


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INTRODUCTION

Roles and Experience CX is no longer a “new” profession and this is reflected in our audience. As with last year, we received responses from highly experienced professionals, and those who are relatively new to the field. With the majority (33%) having between four and 10 year’s experience. Interestingly, there was very little difference in the number of people with over four years’s experience across regions, suggesting that the industry is maturing around the world.

Overall Level of Experience

17%

26%

33%

Relative beginner

2-3 years

24%

4-10 years

10 years +

Fig. 6: Distribution of respondents by level of experience

Level of Experience by Industry Agriculture Automotive Business Services Consultancy Education Financial Services Hardware/software Health Services Internet Services Manufacturing & Construction Market Research Media and Advertising Other Pharmaceuticals Public organisations Retail & Leisure Telecommunications Travel and Transport Utilities and Energy

0%

20% Relative beginner

40% 2-3 years

60% 4-10 years

80%

100% 10 years +

Fig. 7: Distribution of respondents by industry and level of experience


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INTRODUCTION

Of those who provided both their industry and their experiences it was clear that the most experienced CX professionals are working in automotive and consulting. But if we look at the ability to demonstrate ROI, a key aspect of any successful programme, it seems business services and retail & leisure have the lead.

36%

Fig. 8: Ability to demonstrate ROI, by industry

33%

33%

29% Telecommunications

38%

Other

Media and Advertising

39%

Travel and Transport

Hardware/software

40%

Financial Services

40%

Manufacturing & Construction

45%

Market Research

50%

Education

59%

Consultancy

Business Services

70%

Retail & Leisure

Ability to Demonstrate ROI by Industry

We also saw a good mix of responses from different levels of the business, with a close to 50/50 split between Managers and those with more senior titles (Heads, Exec level and C-suite).

Definition of Success - “Leaders” and “Laggards” One of the unique elements of this study is that we take a different approach to what constitutes a leader (and indeed, a laggard). Our aim is to focus on business outcomes – what sort of impact are CX initiatives having on the wider business? The best indicator of success? Investment. If a programme is delivering value – financial, cultural and operational – budgets increase. Fluffy “nice to have” programmes are rarely money-spinners. To that end, we class Leaders as those companies whose respondents expected to see significant increase in budget in the next 12 months (9 or 10 on 0-10 scale). We recognise that this significant increase could also indicate a programme that is just starting but our analysis confirms that the vast majority of “Leader” programmes were well-established. One note on this. There was a decline in the number of Leaders this year over 2018. Perhaps this is a result of global uncertainty and a broad stagnation of budgets. Hopefully this is the case rather than CX being lower down the priority list when it comes to investment. Either way, it underlines the importance of proving the value of CX.

22%

47%

51%

31%

33%

16% Leaders

Followers 2018

Laggards 2019

Fig. 9: Programme investment in next 12 months – year on year


WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF

“Demonstrating pain points which have led to strategic development across business” “We are committed to a taking a holistic approach to CX transformation.”


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INTRODUCTION

A sneak peak of the key areas where Leaders are really differentiated from the Laggards. As you would expect, Leaders are much more satisfied with effectiveness of their programme. So what are they doing right? Across the board our Leaders were more likely to give different aspects of their programme a high score, while on others – such as goal setting and employee journey mapping there was a much smaller gap.

8.00 7.50 7.00 6.50 6.00 5.50 5.00 Employee Ability to moments of demonstrate truth covered ROI

Leaders

Laggards

Internal comms strategy in place

Customer Investment moments of in CX truth covered improvement initiatives

Key Achievable but stakeholders challenging actively CX goals engaged

Fig. 10: Performance gap between Leaders and Laggards, for key questions

“An ethos is only an ethos if it costs you money”


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CONTENTS

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RAISE ONE RALLYING CRY

How to Beat the CX Slump

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PROVE YOUR WORTH

FOCUS ON BETTER DECISIONS


RAISE ONE RALLYING CRY

Raise One Rallying Cry

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RAISE ONE RALLYING CRY

Customer Experience needs to speak with a single voice. One that can be clearly heard across the business. In most cases, that’s not happening now. Why? Because it seems businesses lack a single view to articulate. Those silos that have dogged CX since its inception are still causing huge problems. And they’re not just silos of data, as we continue to see organisational silos and the ever-present no man’s land between data and people. While organisations seem to possess plenty of data, it rarely reaches the right people at the right time in the right format to empower them to actually take action. 56%

28%

25%

24%

16% 10%

Laggard

Follower 2018

Leader 2019

Fig. 11: Integration of feedback data with operational and financial data, split by category

The "Holy Grail" is to create one source of the truth with fully integrated data. But that is still not reality for most of businesses. Despite the availability of technology solutions, most organisations are struggling with multiple data silos. Companies are operating in silos – often, even at the leadership level. CX needs to cut across those silos, helping the organisation to see the impact of inconsistency across the customer journey. You need to be able to draw data together to prove how setting – then failing to meet – customer expectations, is a company-wide problem. And to do this, you must master the data lake. This is shown in the research. Leaders are much more likely to be integrating operational and financial data into their programme, but over two thirds of them don’t actually do this, and the situation is much worse for Laggards and Followers. Even though it’s not enough, the impact for those organisations getting this right is clear.


RAISE ONE RALLYING CRY

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RAISE ONE RALLYING CRY

WITH A CX MAGIC WAND, I WOULD…

“Break down the silos to help foster a more unified and consistent experience across the ecosystem” “Tie CX data with operational data” “Have each employee realise how CX impacts our business and try to keep CX in mind when doing their job”

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RAISE ONE RALLYING CRY

Other types of data

52%

What’s blocking things? The research showed three key reasons; lack of executive commitment, lack of IT priority, and mapping issues. All are understandable, but none should be terminal. As you would expect, in most cases, Laggards saw bigger challenges in these areas. Notably, though, mapping issues were a bigger problem for our Leaders. We consider this to be simply down to the fact that Laggards are not yet trying to integrate data, so mapping has not yet surfaced as a key consideration.

38%

Transactional Operational (eg. call wait time)

28%

16%

49%

10% Cover key moments of truth

Enrich feedback with operational/financial data

Laggards Transactional Behavioural (eg. contacted support)

Fig. 12: Leaders outperforming Laggards in key categories (moments of truth and ability to enrich operational/financial data to CX data)

34%

33%

44%

Leaders

30% 25%

25% 18%

Transactional Financial (eg. spend) Not an IT Priority

Mapping issues

Laggards

Leaders

Lack of exec commitment

Fig. 13: Reasons respondents feel they lack data sources

42% Relationship Operational (eg. average call wait time)

Types of data being integrated with customer/employee data

Let’s look at the positives. Firstly, it’s clear that bringing in data does have an impact. The Leaders – who are the most successful in their programmes – are integrating more data. What sort of data is being integrated into CX programmes? From the responses we received, transactional data (operational, behavioural and financial) are the most commonly integrated, with relationship data less commonly brought in.

42% Relationship Financial (eg. annual revenue)

41% Relationship Behavioural (eg. no. of products purchased)


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RAISE ONE RALLYING CRY

Leaders are also much less likely to have problems with IT priority when it comes to data integration. This is a great example of the importance of being able to prove the value of a CX programme. It’s a lot easier to get to the top of the priority list when you have some solid ROI to back up your requests! In fact, the biggest challenge in this area for Leaders is legacy IT systems. This is tiresome, but this issue seems to affect teams across most businesses, so at least CX departments are not alone! Here, we must also look at the number of companies that are really able to understand the customer journey – at every stage. Not enough of them! Only 38% of Leaders believe they are covering all the key Moments of Truth in their journey, and the less said about the 16% of Laggards in that situation, the better! Moments of Truth and journey mapping have been at the heart of CX for years, but companies are still struggling to get that end-to-end journey view.

Key Customer and Employee Moments Covered

Internal Comms in Place (% rated 6 or above)

65

Covers Key Customer Moments

2017

Covers Key Employee Moments

2018

2019

Fig. 14: Year-on-year trend for coverage of key customer and employee touchpoints

2019

78 2018

Interestingly, compared to 2017, fewer companies are covering all key Moments of Truth for customers. This may or may not be a problem. If businesses really are failing to understand critical Moments of Truth, they should address this. However, an experience is more than the sum of the touchpoints so think carefully. It can be tempting to add yet another survey but is it really necessary? Challenge yourself to identify the touchpoints that really need a listening post, and only consider those as Moments of Truth.

Spreading the word…

73 2017

Fig. 15: Percentage of respondents who rated 6 or above when asked about their internal communication strategy – Year-on-year trend

If we aim for a single rallying cry, it needs to make some actual noise. Investing in customer experience must result in teams across the business understanding how to change their behaviour to make improvements. It also means being able to communicate successes to help bring the doubters (there are always some!) along. To this end, we asked about communications strategies. Interestingly, for all the wrong reasons, this is an area that is going backwards, with the number of companies that have a internal communication strategy in place now down to below 2017 levels.


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RAISE ONE RALLYING CRY

What does this mean? Maybe CX has become sufficiently embedded that a strategy isn’t required. We rather doubt it, though. More likely, this shows many companies are falling into the trap of thinking that by buying a CX platform and setting up some data collection, that the job is done. If they do believe this, that’s a worry.

The Skills Revolution: We asked people which key skills they felt were critical to the success of a customer experience team in the future. Communication, influencing and storytelling topped the list! 52% of Laggards and a whopping 78% of Leaders think this is critical to the future success of CX.

Critical Skill for the Future: Communication, influencing and storytelling

78% Leader

54% Follower

52% Laggard

Fig. 16: Percentage of respondents who rated 9 or 10 when asked about “communication, influencing, storytelling” as a future skill

This is great, because it does suggest that practitioners realise there is a problem in communicating with the wider business. Does this mitigate the lack of communications plans? Not really. Even if CX teams intend to share via more personable storytelling-style approaches than through more traditional communications strategies, there should still be a plan. We can only hope that is the case…

You need an evolution if... you are already integrating additional data sets and collecting the Voice of the Customer at several key Moments of Truth. Here, you need to build on what you have, step by step, to build as complete a picture of the experiences across the customer journey as possible. Make sure you are sharing insight in engaging ways across the business and tying your results back to hard financial data. Customer satisfaction metrics like NPS are really useful, but business outcomes like revenue increase and cost reduction will secure programme success in the long term.

You need to start a revolution if... you are not yet bringing in data from elsewhere. Not only are you probably asking too many questions in your surveys, potentially impacting response rates, but you are limiting your ability to take action on feedback at anything more that the most tactical level. Identify an executive sponsor who will support you and help move CX up the agenda for IT.


FOCUS ON BETTER DECISIONS

Focus on Better Decisions

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2

24

FOCUS ON BETTER DECISIONS

31% Automation / faster / easier

21%

Most organisations are dealing with a veritable data lake and if they’re going to make use of it, we need to teach people to swim. This means not only bringing data together, but using a combination of technology and people, to turn data into insights and insights into action.

Better / more accurate / deeper analysis

Technology is the area of CX where most people expect to see investment. However, it is important that companies take a measured approach here. If incrementally adding cutting-edge new technologies delivers value – or helps prove value – that’s great, but implementing costly, unproven technology for the sake of it is never wise. There is no silver widget!

9% Chabots / Customer queries

8%

We asked questions about the role of AI in our research but, as we’ve seen before, the picture is unclear. What we do recommend, is however you do implement AI, automation or predictive analytics, you do so to assist real people to make decisions. No one needs another “computer says no” conversation! Your staff has access to information that isn’t shown in the data. Technology must help simplify complex data to support humans.

Text / Speech analytics

Fig. 17: Top 6 uses of AI in daily job now or in future

8% 7% Better actions / decisions Predictive Analytics (churn/spend)


FOCUS ON BETTER DECISIONS

AI: STILL ELUSIVE…

AI still has limited impact on CX programmes. • 22% say it enables automation • 15% say it delivered deeper analysis • 6% use chatbots or speech/ text analytics • 5% use predictive analytics But… • 30% have either no idea or have a negative view of its impact!

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FOCUS ON BETTER DECISIONS

Viral Decision Making The purpose of all this data collection, analysis and simplification is to drive smarter decision making. But, and it hurts to say this, it’s just not happening. At least, not enough. And we believe that’s what is really hurting customer experience teams. Ultimately, you need to be able to prove that the insights you share are driving changes in behaviour that deliver ROI. One of the most revealing questions we asked was about who is empowered to make decisions on the basis of CX insights. We have long argued that if CX insight lives with the CX team, it dies with the CX team. The purpose of creating context and clear insight is that it empowers people across the organisation to make decisions within their sphere of work. So what is actually happening?

24% 23%

CX Team

50% 46%

Executive Team

65%

Senior Management

52% 22%

Middle Management

Frontline

12% 12% 6% 0%

10%

20%

30%

Laggard

40%

50%

60%

70%

Leader

Fig. 18: Who makes decisions regarding CX initiatives, by category

Similar numbers of Leaders and Laggards have their CX team making decisions, and there is not a huge difference in those where the executive team takes on that role. It is a concern, though, that even in businesses that have invested in CX, more than half of executives teams are taking decisions without considering customer insight! When it comes to the less senior people in the business, the gaps are wider between the two extremes. It is heartening to see that across the board, more senior managers than executives are using insight to drive decisions. This means we’re managing to avoid the dreaded ivory tower to some extent, but given senior managers are typically heads of departments, it is still far from the front lines.


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FOCUS ON BETTER DECISIONS

The Frozen Middle When we get to the middle managers and frontline teams, we see a big drop in empowerment at all ends of the spectrum. Overall, only 17% of middle managers are using insights to aid decision making, and 8% of frontline staff. It is great to see a real difference between Leaders and Laggards at the middle managers level, though. 22% of middle managers might not sound like a lot – but it’s clearly having an impact. This is a fundamental finding of our research. CX insights are not being operationalised enough. This is the very purpose of CX – or at least it should be! What’s the problem? Why are so many middle managers and frontline staff not empowered to make decisions? It’s not a question we asked directly in this study, but we can speculate. It could be technology, but the ability to share tailored dashboards, alerts and actions is pretty standard in any Voice of the Customer platform now, so this is certainly not an insurmountable problem.

We believe this is much more likely to be an issue of culture and empowerment from higher up in the organisation. Either senior staff don't trust that others will make a decision at all or that they will make the right one. To remedy this, they need clear line of sight into the decision-making process and the actions taken as a result – and most importantly, the outcomes. This will build trust in the process, help ensure that successes are replicated, and prevent unsuccessful decisions being repeated. The failure of businesses to use CX insights to drive decision making and innovation is responsible for the lack of progress we are seeing. It seems that most companies are still failing to get the basics right. Which makes it unsurprising that fewer companies than in 2018 and 2017 say they are driving innovation off the back of the Voice of the Customer. It’s hard to innovate at a strategic level if you’re not even driving tactical change effectively across the company.

Using VoC to Drive Innovation

51%

38%

26% 19%

17%

16%

Laggard

Follower 2018

Leader 2019

Fig. 19: Using VoC to drive innovation - year-on-year trend by category


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FOCUS ON BETTER DECISIONS

One of the key areas that mature CX programmes can impact is business culture. The ultimate aim should be that CX becomes part of the business as usual, with everyone empowered to make insight-driven decisions. We’re clearly not there yet in most cases. 46% of Leaders and 37% of Laggards chose culture change as a top three challenge. It would appear that Leaders are recognising this as an aim more consistently than Laggards – understandable given the more fundamental challenges for those struggling with their programmes.

The Skills Revolution... Of the key skills for the future to focus on here, process design and execution as well as data analytics are vital. We see a big gap between Leaders’ and Laggards’ views on the execution front – 35% of Laggards vs. 60% of Leaders see these skills as vital. This is telling. It suggests that Leaders understand that it is the actual execution of a programme against business goals that will secure success. Only 27% of our audience overall think they have that skill set sorted, but a solid 59% see it emerging, which is promising. How well established are these skills? Process design and execution

13%

59%

27%

Communication, influencing, storytelling

11%

55%

33%

Data analytics and stats skills

9%

65%

26%

Business acumen/commercial view

7%

55%

37%

Not at all

Emerging

Very well

Fig. 20: How well established key CX skills are in your organisation?

Final thought: You need an evolution if... you are already enabling people beyond the CX team and most senior staff to access and react to customer insight. Keep sharing the responsibility more widely to enable strategic business initiatives to evolve, as well as tactical decisions. Consider capturing feedback from employees too. Those on the front line are often best placed to understand the root cause of recurring customer issues so you can address systemic issues and really impact the bottom line. Act as champion of these groups to help senior leaders understand that they are critical to the process.

You need to start a revolution if... it’s only your CX team and a few execs who are empowered to make decisions based on customer insight. This is not about sharing CX dashboards with more people (though that helps!) but requires a cultural revolution in which people are trusted to do the right thing. Build a network of champions across the company who can support frontline and middle management teams. And track the impact of actions!


FOCUS ON BETTER DECISIONS

WITH A CX MAGIC WAND, I WOULD…

“Put CX at front and centre of decision making” “Develop a better ability to use data to drive investment decisions” “Automate more processes, reduce admin and involve teams in focusing on strategic priorities”

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PROVE YOUR WORTH

Prove Your Worth

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32

PROVE YOUR WORTH

Let’s get one thing straight. An improvement in your NPS does not prove the value of your programme. It’s a good thing, we’re not denying that, but it shouldn’t be the goal. There are businesses that are really struggling with proving the impact of their CX activities. At the core, CX teams are not making that critical linkage between insight-based decisions and actual business value. To succeed, CX goals need to be tightly aligned with corporate goals.

The importance of this is supported by our research. When asked about the top piece of advice to companies getting started in CX, by far the top answer was the importance of getting executive buy in. Achieving this support means correlating your CX plans with the KPIs that matter most to senior staff. Perhaps it is no coincidence then, that in 2019 we have seen a reduction in the number of people saying senior stakeholders are invested in CX goals and a reduction in demonstrable ROI. In both cases, the numbers are now below 2017 levels. Ability to Demonstrate ROI 44%

Leader 34% 24%

Follower 13%

21%

Laggard

14% 0%

10%

20%

30% 2018

40%

50%

2019

Fig. 21: Ability to demonstrate ROI, year on year, split by Leaders, Followers and Laggards

What’s causing this? Well, goal definition was one of the top five habits of effective CX professionals that we identified in last year’s report. It seems the message is taking a while to sink in. We have seen a significant drop in the number of companies that responded saying that they have set achievable goals in CX when compared to last year. For those also trying to integrate employee engagement practices into the process, the story is much the same.


23 33

HABIT PROVETHREE YOUR WORTH

63% 37% 32% 32%

32%

22%

19%

22%

2018

2019

Laggard

Leader

Fig. 22: Organisation’s ability to set achievable CX goals, year on year

Top business outcomes most commonly correlated to a programme's ROI Reduced complaints

42%

Customer churn

40%

Increased spend

39%

New customers

38%

Laggard

Leader

Achievable CX goals

Laggard

Leader

Achievable EX goals

Fig. 23: Organisation’s ability to set achievable CX and EX goals, by category

Let’s not dwell on the negatives, though. What this does mean is there is plenty of opportunity for improvement when it comes to proving the worth of your CX efforts. Better still, there is plenty of evidence that getting it right does pay dividends. Leaders are more than twice as likely to demonstrate ROI as Laggards (34% vs. 14%), not to mention more than twice as likely to have invested in CX initiatives. Again, this shows that by proving value, you can increase investment and secure the future growth of your programme. There is no point in asking for customer feedback if you’re not going to commit to driving improvements as a result, in the short and long-term. For the companies that are demonstrating ROI – what is the focus? One interesting note is that there is a clear difference between B2B and B2C businesses in terms of how they take action and thus demonstrate ROI. B2C companies are focused much more on transactional elements, such as complaints handling. B2B organisations are more inclined to look at relationship elements in an effort to reduce churn. Overall, when we look at how companies identify ROI, there are four key areas that are ahead of the rest. This is important because to become truly embedded within a company, CX must reach much more widely. It’s not just about improving the customer experience, but about identifying root causes of problems and solving them at that level. When it comes to proving your worth, you have got to monitor action. The decisions that are made –within and beyond the CX team – must be tracked to ensure that the results of those decisions are connected back to the CX programme, and to key business outcomes. In many cases, it is likely that ROI is being generated, but you need evidence to secure investment in the future of your programme.


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PROVE YOUR WORTH

“Leaders are more than twice as likely to demonstrate ROI as Laggards” The Skills Revolution... Of the skills we asked about, the one to focus on here is business acumen and a commercial view. Here, 47% of Laggards and 57% of Leaders consider business acumen to be a key skill for the future – and the second highest after storytelling. It’s the skill that 37% of our audience believe they have sorted already, the highest of any of the skills. The 55% who say it is emerging, and the 7% who don’t have that skill at all within the CX team need to make a push here. Ultimately, all our CX efforts have to benefit the business – and we need to be able to prove the impact.

Business acumen/commercial view

7%

Not at all

55%

Emerging

37%

Very well

Final Thought You need an evolution if… you are already setting achievable goals that are aligned to the goals of the wider business. If you are investing in initiatives that drive change based on CX insights, then iterative improvements are the way forward. Ensure you regularly re-evaluate your goals to maintain that vital alignment and don’t forget to keep those stakeholders on board.

You need to start a revolution if… you are not demonstrating ROI. It’s time for you to drive some big change – and quickly. This might mean a “back to the drawing board” moment in terms of the goals of your programme. Getting truly established with your CX programme is a combination of people, technology and commercial thinking. Think honestly about how you can drive improvements in terms of real business outcomes (not just CX metrics). For example in B2C, a reduction in customer complaints is a common goal, while in B2B companies, reduced customer churn can translate to a big impact on the bottom line.


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CONCLUSION CONTINUOUSLY RE-THINK

Conclusion: Evolution or Revolution? How was that for you? It’s a tough read, we get that. But there is huge opportunity in CX for businesses that focus hard on these three catalysts for change – whether that’s evolutionary or revolutionary. CX teams need to: 1) Raise one rallying cry by aligning technology, multiple data sources and people and communicate this across the business. 2) Focus on decision-making at every level of the business, particularly for middle managers and frontline staff. 3) Prove their worth by making a link between their actions and improved business outcomes that actually impact the bottom line.

Interestingly, it was our Leaders who said their programmes were most in need of a revolution. Maybe that’s what sets them apart. While we can’t have a revolution every day, a mind-set that is always asking “what’s next?” is a wonderful asset for driving things forward. A great way to think about taking the next steps is to look at the skills that our audience identified as being critical for the future of CX. While technology is vital, it’s just not enough. People are absolutely core in getting your organisation to the next level. Most CX teams are small, and you may well not have one whole person who embodies each skill. That’s fine. One person can cover multiple areas here. The important thing is to harness those skills and use them to drive your programme forward.

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As a reminder, these are the skills you need to build a CX dream team: 1) Communication, influencing and storytelling: You need an evangelist who can develop strong relationships with key stakeholders. Understanding what individuals, departments and the C-suite need and expect from the CX programme can play a crucial role in your success. More importantly, the CX Evangelist must be a real storyteller who can enthuse everyone that they have the vision and aptitude to achieve real cultural and business change. 2) Business acumen and a commercial view: You need the ability to wrap solid CX expertise in real business acumen so you can understand what delivers results and translate ideas into action. The ability to work with other members of the team, sharing some of their skills but combining it with an operational background, can really help CX teams to reduce pushback from different departments. This skill also helps you to understand why employees might find it hard to accept changes to business processes or workflows. The ability to negotiate and secure agreement to new ways of working are vital. Someone must be able to effectively counter objections to achieve wide spread support for the CX initiative.

3) Execution and process design: So much of what you need to achieve comes down to execution. Your team must understand what a great experience looks like and be able to think creatively about ways to exceed customer - and company expectations to produce real results. Thinking about innovations like audio and video in surveys will keep the team’s focus on the respondent and identify which approaches will get and keep their attention. This will ensure your customers know why their feedback has been requested and how it will be used to make a difference. 4) Data analytics and statistical skills: Someone must thrive on the analysis of large volumes of structured and unstructured feedback across the entire lifecycle of the customer. They must also be able to deliver, highlight and share key data that pinpoints more than CX metrics. You need an analyst who can break things down and explain what is changing and what is driving that change. Ultimately, you must be able to identify an ROI model that will prove the link between CX activities and hard financial data.

With this set of skills in place, you will have everything you need to either continue an evolution, or stage a revolution. Good luck!


CONCLUSION

Engage Business Media (EBM) is a global media company designed to help its community of 120,000-plus leaders in the customer and employee engagement space to devise and implement sustainable, winning business strategies. Our mantra is that organisations need to cut across their own internal silos, take a more holistic view of their customers, both internal and external, and deliver a consistent and appropriate customer and employee experience. In support of this EBM runs a series of highly respected, CPD-accredited, world-class thought leadership events for its community throughout the year — including our annual agship Customer Engagement and Employee Engagement Summits and our Engage Awards. All of these face-to-face activities are underpinned by our websites, as well as weekly newsletter alerts, webinars, and ground-breaking research reports. Visit www.ebm.media for more information.

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Confirmit is the world’s leading SaaS vendor for multi-channel Customer Experience, Employee Engagement, and Market Research solutions. The company has offices in Oslo (headquarters), Grimstad, London, Moscow, New York, San Francisco, Sydney, Vancouver, and Yaroslavl. Confirmit’s software is also distributed through partner resellers in Madrid, Milan, and Tokyo. Confirmit powers Global 5000 companies and Market Research agencies worldwide with a wide range of software products for feedback / data collection, panel management, data processing, analysis, and reporting. Customers include Aurora, British Standards Institution, Cross-Tab, Dow Chemical, GfK, GlaxoSmithKline, GMO Research, KeepFactor, Nielsen, Research Now, RS Components, QRS, SSI, and Swisscom. Visit www.confirmit.com for more information.

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