One trend has been emerging clearly from the analysis of our 2013 MECx study – customer experiences are getting better. Even in the traditionally lowest performing industry of Cable & Satellite, customers are reporting that they’ve seen noticeable improvements in the customer experience. For now, many companies are relying on their customer experience focus to provide a point of differentiation. However, this shift indicates that the question may be changing from, “What do we stand to gain by focusing on the customer experience?” to “What’s the cost of doing nothing?”
Over the past few years, we’ve seen companies dramatically improve their customer experience strategies in three key areas:
1. Voice of Customer Programs
By some estimates the Voice of the Customer market has grown to between $400 million and $600 million. Not only are companies investing in the software, there has also been a growing sophistication in how they distribute this feedback throughout the organization and take action at the individual and systemic levels.
The 2013 MECx included a deep-dive in retail banking. In the banking industry we found that systematically taking action on customer feedback at the individual level was the number one practice of Growth Banks. Professional Voice of the Customer solutions provide a starting point for many organizations, not just banks, to begin making customer experience improvements.
2. Customer Experience Leadership
According to the Chief Customer Officer Council, Chief Customer Officers now exist at:
- 39% of enterprises with $1 billion+ in revenue
- 46% of enterprises with less than $250 million
- 15% of mid-sized companies
Not only is the number of CCOs growing, the influence they wield in the organization is growing as well. Over the past seven years Forrester has been tracking the rise of the Chief Customer Officer, or an equivalent under a different title. In 2013 85% of CCOs sit on the executive team, this is up from 50% in 2012. These individuals are also reporting a shift from an advisory role to one that yields much greater control over operational changes.
3. Customer-Centric Culture
The Temkin Group’s annual State of the Customer Experience Profession report ranks customer-centric culture among the top three focus areas for customer experience professionals. A customer-centric culture is vital to achieving a better customer experience over the long-term. Our research on Employee Engagement showed that customer-centric companies boast 2x the number of Engaged employees and 6x the number of Fully Engaged employees than their company-centric counterparts. The benefits are clear, and the challenges of making that shift are top of mind for many Cx professionals.
The customer experience profession is still relatively new (happy 2nd anniversary to the Customer Experience Professionals Association). Innovative companies are already capturing the return on customer focus. For those who haven’t started the journey – there’s never been a better time than now. Customer experiences are improving, is your company ready to compete in The Age of the Customer?