Tough Customer

By Eva Skidmore @evaskidmore

As one who is willing to pay more for a great experience, I may be a tough customer, but I am one of millions placing significant demands on companies to serve me better. What was surprising to me about the outcome of Oracle’s recent Customer Experience (CX) survey was the gap in perspective between how companies think they are doing relative their customers’ perspectives. Only 39% of companies earned a CX index rating of “excellent” or “good,” but 80% of them say they effectively deliver a positive, consistent and relevant experience. Only 44% of executives believe that consumers are willing to pay more for great CX, but 86% already are!

To bridge this gap, successful initiatives benefit from executive level focus across the people, processes and technologies that touch our customers. For example, when I dig further into the data from our North American survey results, it is interesting that successful CX projects require a focus on two of the top three areas keeping companies from investing in CX. The top three obstacles include a lack of funding (32%), an inflexible technology infrastructure (28%) and a siloed organizational structure (25%). The most successful projects address the first two by implementing a technology to improve customer service (32%), but also by building a training program or incentives for employees (35%) and formalizing a Voice of the Customer program (27%).

As a devotee of customer experience design and social trends, I understand the challenge of adapting our businesses with a holistic view of customers and their expectations. Take the time to walk in the shoes of your customers. Pick one customer and follow their journey. Evaluate how your people, your process and your technology help or get in the way. And, identify CX decisions that can boost key business measures like acquisition, cross-selling, efficiency and retention.

Like many of us, I am glad to see that over 90% of executives say that improving CX is one of their top 3 priorities for the next 2 years. Of the 91% who want lead through customer experience, 37% are just getting started with a formal initiative.

In closing, I’d love to hear your story – what are the obstacles in your business that you are working to overcome to improve customer satisfaction?

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