Customer experience initiatives fuel digital transformation change, finds report

New research by the Economist Intelligence Unit reveals link between investment in customer experience and increase in profitability, revenue growth and customer retention

An upsurge in customer experience investment by Australian and New Zealand companies over the next three years will accelerate their digital transformation and pave the way for innovation, a new report claims.

The value of experience: How the c-suite values customer experience in the digital agereport is based on a global study of c-suite executives conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Genesys. The report showed a lift in investment around CX programs across the region in the last three years, as well as significant plans to invest in the next three.

In Australia and New Zealand, for example, 27 per cent will increase it by more than one quarter, up from 15 per cent three years ago, and 57 per cent plan to up investment by at least 10 per cent in the next three years. This reflects the growing appetite for digital CX channels.

The study also found 86 per cent of A/NZ c-level executives surveyed considered “improving CX” a key driver for their company’s digital transformation.

In contrast, larger companies globally are cutting back on their investment, with just 12 per cent planning a similar increase over the next three years, putting A/NZ ahead in the race to lead CX innovation.

Motivated primarily to improve customer loyalty, the report revealed an upsurge in investment is linked directly to the correlation between CEO engagement in customer experience and company performance in revenue growth and profitability. Across the board, 58 per cent of A/NZ companies said the CEO directly leads CX initiatives, followed by the CMO (12 per cent) CXO (9 per cent) and CIO (9 per cent).

A direct correlation between CEO engagement in customer experience and profitability is also driving investment, and CEOs leading CX initiatives are more likely to transform a company’s future success. Fifty eight per cent of A/NZ companies reported a much higher profitability than their competitors when the CEO was in charge of customer experience.

In addition, 64 per cent of executives who said CX is important to their organisation’s future investment priorities believe their company is more profitable than their competitors.

“More and more senior executives are beginning to not only understand their digital consumer but also see the urgent need for CX innovation to be prioritised on their investment agenda to keep up with today’s digitally driven customer,” said managing director of Genesys Asia-Pacific, Bruce Eidsvik. “With this in mind, organisations need to consistently evolve to meet the growing demands of their customers, build trust, increase loyalty and drive revenue growth.”

Improving customer retention is an important factor driving increased spending in CX programs at A/NZ companies. Forty per cent of respondents said increased customer retention was one of the benefits of CX investment, followed by increased sales and improved customer satisfaction, both identified by 18 per cent of respondents.

Supporting the CX paradigm, a significant number of A/NZ companies (67 per cent) were more likely to measure the success, or return on investment, of CX initiatives. This was higher than results across the Asia-Pacific region (66 per cent), Europe (59 per cent) and North America (51 per cent).

“Ambitious companies are driving large investments in customer experience initiatives to adapt to the digital communication channels customers are demanding,” said Charles Ross, senior editor at the EIU and lead researcher of the study.

“By prioritising CX and placing the CEO in charge, companies are taking an extra step to drive revenue growth and improve profitability.”

The EIU report also dived into where spending is occurring and found traditional CX channels in A/NZ companies were set to drop to 45 per cent in terms of importance in the next three years. These are being overtaken by social media, Web self-service and online assistance.

However, 60 per cent of business leaders still believe face-to-face interaction between companies and customers is an important and effective CX channel.

The The value of experience: How the c-suite values customer experience in the digital agereport was based on a survey of 516 C-suite executives in 21 countries, including Australia and New Zealand.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

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