One of the insightful things that has been said to me recently came from an independent consultant working at a major FMCG client. He said: “The problem here is that we have some people who are world-class at marketing to the masses, but they haven’t got a clue about how to speak to a customer.”
New research from Forrester has found 98 per cent of Australian organisations see customer experience as a top 10 strategic priority, yet most are only embracing small step changes rather than transformation.
The new survey comes off the back of global research undertaken by Forrester on the importance of customer experience in business, which found 92 per cent of companies rate it as one of their top strategies yet only half believe they’re doing a good job of it.
Locally, 50 per cent of Australian organisations rate customer experience as a top strategic priority for their business, with a further 48 per cent listing it as a top 10 area of focus.
In addition, 72 per cent currently have an executive in charge of improvements in customer experience across products and channels, and 66 per cent work for a CEO advocating its importance across the organisation.
Across respondents, 80 per cent have a centralised customer experience team, and 35 per cent have at least 10 staff in these teams. Seventy-three per cent are spending the same or more on customer experience programs in the next 12 months.
Despite this, Forrester found most Australian organisations focus on incremental change, rather than large-scale transformation. While there are increasing numbers of customer experience teams being put in place, most are operating as a silo rather than as part of a company-wide program linked to broader business strategies.
In its previous global research, Forrester also found less than half of organisations believe they are delivering a good customer experience, let alone an excellent one.
“This is not good enough,” Forrester vice-president and research director, Michael Barnes, told attendees at the analyst group’s Summit for Marketing and Strategy Professionals in Sydney. “We need to improve how we systematically measure but also improve customer experiences.”
The Australian figures were based on a survey of 62 customer experience leaders in advance of Forrester’s first Summit for Marketing and Strategy Professionals in Sydney.
During his opening address at the summit, Barnes said Australian organisations need to take a closer, harder look at their level of maturity and identify areas they need to put more emphasis on in order to truly champion customer experiences.
He also stressed the importance of measurement in understanding how an organisation is progressing down the customer experience path, and pointed to Forrester’s three-tiered pyramid as a way of coming to terms with what needs to be done.
Describing the analyst group’s pyramid as akin to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Barnes said the base level of customer experience is about being useful and meeting a consumer’s needs as a buyer. The second stage is making interactions with a brand easy, while the third and top stage is providing enjoyable experiences.
“Success [in the age of the customer] is going to be based on our ability to be relevant , and to systematically understand and serve customers,” Barnes said.