Gartner report: CX is a people issue

Best tech investments derailed by lack of training or incentives, low morale or commitment, and poor communication of goals

Employee engagement tops the list of major concerns when delivering customer experience improvement projects, according to a new Gartner survey.

The study revealed 86 per cent of CX executives ranked employee engagement as having an equal or greater impact than other factors such as project management and data skills.

"CX is a people issue," said Gartner research vice-president, Olive Huang. "In some instances, the best technology investments have been derailed by employee factors, such as a lack of training or incentives, low morale or commitment, and poor communication of goals."

The Gartner study was conducted in February and March 2018 with 209 respondents in the UK, US, Australia, Singapore, India, Canada and New Zealand.

Respondents were from a wide range of industries and company sizes and heavily involved in a CX program, with 71 per cent in a leadership position. One in five report directly to the CEO. Nearly three quarters of organisations surveyed have a dedicated CX team.

Olive Huang
Olive Huang

According to the survey, organisations can consider undertaking hundreds of different potential CX improvement projects, but only a few can be funded.

Survey respondents ranked personalisation, voice of the customer (VoC), metrics and multichannel-related projects as the highest priority activities in 2018.

"The data tells us there is no CX silver bullet," Huang said. "CX leaders face a wide range of choices over project priorities and the mix of technology projects and skills needed to be successful. You need to prioritize investments based on ROI, and benchmark and measure customer experience improvements over time."

In terms of technologies, customer analytics is considered the most critical technology investment for CX improvement projects, the survey said.

Customer analytics covers a range of different possibilities, and organisations attach highest emphasis on customer journey, customer needs and digital marketing analytics when prioritising investments.

But the survey noted the range of technologies being used remains broad, from mature technologies like business process management, voice of customer (VoC) and user experience (UX) design tools and platforms to emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI).

Looking ahead, more than one-third of organisations are considering using virtual assistants to improve customer experience. This includes virtual customer assistants (VCAs), chatbots and virtual personal assistants (VPAs). Blockchain is being considered by 15 per cent of organisations and 11 per cent are considering AI.

Meanwhile, customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores remain the most commonly used metric (62 per cent) followed by product/service quality metrics and employee engagement. Customer Effort Score is employed as a CX metric by nearly one-third of surveyed organisations and Net Promoter Score (NPS) by one-quarter of participants.

"The focus on measurement confirms that CX is becoming a cross-organisational, board-level priority," said Huang. "Among the more notable surprises in this survey is the increasing use of newer types of CX metrics like Customer Effort Score. The reality is that organisations require a mix of metrics to measure CX."

The survey also found return on investment (ROI) has become a major focus for enterprises, with 93 per cent measuring ROI on their CX improvement projects.

The realised ROI ranges from benefits for customers (such as increased customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy) to benefits for the organisation (such as increased revenue, customer lifetime value, customer retention and profitability).

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