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On the threshold of augmented customer experiences
Since the pandemic, digital disruptors have thrived and there’s been a revolution in CX operating models. C-level responsibility for customer experience (CX) has doubled in the last year. There’s been a transformational shift in organizational and customer behaviours, and a substantial improvement in automation. Our findings show that industry leaders and disruptors have made significant strides towards augmenting their CX capabilities, focusing on the all-important human factor and implementing technologies that enable greater agility and growth.
2021 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report
Leaders demonstrate the business value of CX strategies
CX is moving to the world of added-value
It’s recognized as an important differentiator by consumers, and leading organizations have distinguished themselves by understanding where they can make a market impact through CX.
Companies that are growing their business are three times more likely to view CX as a primary differentiator and 50.6% more likely to have customers at a promoter level.
Digitization and automation are now fundamental to the operational elements of CX and it’s critical to get them right, but customers still want the option of human interactions. 95.5% of consumers agreed (66.5% strongly agreed) with the statement ‘I want to have the ability to speak with a human when I want to’.
Effective CX strategies must therefore nurture consumers from digital to human-led engagement. Augmented CX frames technology to deliver what customers want – wherever their journey starts and however it progresses.
Take ownership of CX as a value-creator
Organizations that have prioritized CX and adopted effective business models to enable greater agility will continue widening the gap.
Enabling a global cloud-connected CX center for Henkel
'Our CX team can, as the internal service provider of contact center services, deliver any requirements within weeks rather than months, thanks to our newly consolidated global service platform.’
Figure 1: VoC feedback on CX approaches
To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements? n=1,402
Figure 2: Organizational view of CX as a primary differentiator
To what extent do you agree or disagree that CX is a primary differentiator for your organization? n=1,359
Build customer journeys against a new baseline
While the pandemic has accelerated improvements in CX delivery, it’s also exacerbated existing problems. Customers don’t rate CX capabilities as highly as organizations do.
Despite the positive steps taking during pandemic, customer ratings of CX delivery are lower than what organizations think. There’s a disconnect between CX strategy and execution, and between what customers want and what organizations think they want. A significant 43.8% of consumers say CX is at a detractor level, whereas organizations believe detractor ratings to be almost half that, at just 24.6%.
While the majority of organizations recognize that customers, employees and business functions are equally important to customer journey design, most are not using customer insights and collaborating across departments to augment CX delivery.
Big data capabilities will play a major role in driving CX value. Organizations with a more mature data analytics capability are quickly moving to capture both structured data and unstructured data to go beyond what customers are telling them and understand what they’re actually doing.
Figure 3: Comparison of customer and organizational ratings of CX
Organizations: How do your customers rate your CX capability? n=1,359
Consumers: Thinking about when you contact the following types of service providers, how would you generally rate the level of customer service you experience? n=1,402
Understand that the customer journey is about choice
Organizations may be doing what they think is right, but if they don’t involve their customers and employees in the process of customer journey design, and use their feedback to improve CX delivery, they won’t get the results they want.
of organizations are using customer insight to inform service and product business improvements
recognize a voice of the customer (VoC) program as crucial.
Prepare for hyperautomation and use it intelligently
Enterprises can no longer view automation in CX as optional – they must embrace it rapidly to remain relevant.
More CX processes are now being managed through automation and there’s been a high consumer uptake of digital channels: 9 in 10 organizations said the pandemic accelerated CX automation.
Organizations say they’re getting their value from automation – over one in five state that robotics and AI are exceeding expectations – but that’s not necessarily reflecting in improved CX. Only 34.7% of consumers say they’re fully satisfied with digital and/or automated CX solutions and just 17.9% rate digital/self-service CX at a promoter level.
Around a third of consumers are not discouraged from using digital/self-service contact channels, they’d simply rather engage at a human level.
Chatbots let Credit Agricole speak to their customers on their own terms.
‘We understand our customers and we didn’t want to force them to interact with us in a way they weren’t comfortable with. We needed a solution that allowed us to stay true to our principles but took some of the load off our contact center.’
What, if any, factors discourage you from using digital/self-service contact channels (e.g. internet, mobile app) when dealing with a company? n=1,402
Top 3 reasons digital/self- service systems fail to meet customer needs:
- They only offer limited capability/services.
- They misunderstand my enquiry or send me to the wrong place.
- They aren’t personalized enough.
Augment the human touch
The number one factor discouraging consumers from using digital contact channels is simply that they’d ‘rather speak to a human’. To get promoter scores up, automation that supports the human is key.
RPA is passé, giving way to hyperautomation that brings together AI, machine learning, virtual agents and RPA in one package that ushers in the true value proposition of automation to CX.
Reinforce the human touch between CX and EX
Reinforce the human touch between CX and EX
It’s now imperative for organizations to augment their employees’ capabilities with digital tools that enable them to deliver efficient, frictionless CX, in any working environment.
The pandemic drove organizations to adapt to home-working within their operating models, presenting significant challenges to employers and employees alike.
Now, organizations need to balance a harmonized, digitally primed hybrid operating model and enhance employee experience capabilities through intelligent automation.
An optimized CX strategy is key to releasing positive outcomes. Highly automated organizations are typically enjoying a 10%+ uplift in EX, new customer acquisition, commercial performance and ease of resolution
Enhance CX through EX
While most organizations agree that human-led support remains a critical CX channel option, only half are investing in tools to support CX agents.
In the last 12 months, which, if any, of the following can your organization evidence as outcomes from your evolving CX strategy? n=1,359
Improve data privacy and CX security
One in three organizations say security risks increased during the pandemic, which also presented challenges to protecting customer data. The security and privacy of personal data is a worry for consumers, too. It’s one of the top three factors influencing their brand loyalty and one of the top four discouraging them from using digital channels.
As organizations look to augment their CX capabilities, security must be an essential element of their CX strategies, customer journey design, employee enablement and digital transformation efforts.
From intelligence to execution
Customer choice, hyperautomation and a hybrid workforce form the new foundation for growth
We’re now starting to embark on a human-centered and augmented customer experience strategy, where customers have greater choice and control, and organizations that really listen to and respect their choices are rewarded with increased spend and share of wallet.
Find out how you can lead from the new CX baseline by downloading our 2021 Global Customer Experience Benchmark Report below. This year's Report includes research from global organizations as well as global consumers, and commentary from our regional CX experts.