In the digital age, customer experience is more important than ever. A new study, Customer Experience in the Digital Age: The New Competitive Edge, from Harvard Business Review Analytics Service, sponsored by Verizon Enterprise Solutions, makes the case that today’s organizations must focus on customer experience to get ahead of competitors – and that technology is a key enabler to becoming best-in-class. In fact, delivering an extraordinary customer experience depends on technology as much as it does having the right people with the right skills, the study found. Sixty-four percent of organizations who define themselves as best-in-class believe that the effectiveness of their technology is as important as the effectiveness of their people. There are three key areas where technology makes a difference:
- Enabling new channels and creating a unified experience across all channels
- Supporting customer service reps and other employees who work directly with customers
- Generating more insights about customer needs and behaviors using analytics.
Organizations with underlying network infrastructure modern enough to handle the needs of 21st century customers (read: millennials) and flexible enough to quickly adapt to changing requirements are poised for success. When it comes to technology, companies must simplify and standardize to deliver a faster, more responsive experience. Once that happens, it’s easier to introduce new innovations in customer engagement that sit on top of that infrastructure. Another common trait, according to the study, in companies with strong customer experience efforts is strong partnerships at the leadership level, especially between the CIO and CMO. Those departments generally handle most elements of the customer experience, and at a minimum must align. Collaboration among those leaders was cited by 45 percent of best-in-class organizations as a way to reach a common goal. Other points of interest include:
- Great CX takes work – 47 percent of organizations say it’s a top-two differentiator for their business, but only half of those say they do it well.
- Excellence matters – 56 percent of best-in-class organizations have gained market share because of excellent customer experience.
- Consistency is difficult – Less than half (43 percent) of best-in-class organizations believe the quality of their customer experience is consistent across all platforms.
- Organizational change required – More than a third of best-in-class organizations cite organizational silos (37 percent) or cultural resistance (38 percent) as the greatest barriers to improving customer experience.
To download a full copy of the report, visit http://www.verizonenterprise.com/resources/insights/hbr/customer-experience/. To learn more about how Verizon is helping organizations use technology to improve their customers’ experiences, visit http://www.verizonenterprise.com/achieve-business-outcomes/improve-customer-experience/.