Businesses are now firmly focused on delivering exceptional customer experiences, but there remains a lag in organisations’ ability to do so.
That’s a key finding from a recent report from Econsultancy, in association with Adobe.
“Despite the continued focus on customer experience, organisations are not building their data and analytics capabilities fast enough,” the report’s author’s said.
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Called the Digital Intelligence Briefing – 2017 Digital Trends the report surveyed more than 14,00 digital marketing and ecommerce professionals across EMEA, North American and Asia Pacific markets.
The results reveal how important the customer experience has become to company strategy. It is the key way most companies expect to differentiate themselves over the next five years.
“Over one fifth (22 per cent) of client-side respondents ranked ‘optimising the customer experience’ as the single most exciting opportunity for the year ahead, slightly ahead of other areas such as ‘creating compelling content for digital experiences’ (16 per cent) and ‘data-driven marketing’ (12 per cent),” the report said.
The results also reveal a subtle but significant growth in commitment to digital transformation by organisations. The reasons are undoubtedly varied, but the customer experience may be at the heart of it, the report said.
“As companies prioritise their digital marketing efforts we continue to see the focus in 2017 on creating a seamless, consistent and valuable experience for their audiences and having the teams in place to help achieve this,” the authors said.
While for some organisations the transition to a customer experience culture has gone relatively smoothly, others still rank it as their most difficult initiative, the report said.
“These findings suggest there is a gulf between organisations in terms of their understanding and their ability to master this key enabler for delivering meaningful customer experiences.”
In the effort to create more personalized customer experiences and differentiate themselves, senior executives say their businesses have a renewed value on design, according to the report. Organisations value creativity and are employing design to power their digital transformation and relevant, personalised customer experiences, the report said.
“Design is considered the next level on the path to digital transformation, with 86 per cent of survey respondents agreeing that design-driven companies outperform other businesses.”
While the survey results showed the importance of strongly designed customer journeys is well understood, it is not easily mastered. 39 per cent of the client side respondents indicated that it was challenging to master “well-designed user journeys that facilitate clear communication and a seamless transaction.”
Achieving excellent customer experience through personalization and design needs to be supported by data, according to Adobe’s APAC VP of marketing, Marta DeBellis. “If you want to take design and content to deliver truly personalised experiences, you need a strong foundation of data,” she said.
DeBellis said the report showed some organisations may be getting ahead of themselves in the quest for exceptional customer experiences. “The report shows that investment in analytics is lagging. It seems that many businesses are so excited to get into the experience game that they overextend, neglecting to take care of the basics,” she said.
“The goal of digital transformation isn’t better social or faster analytics… it’s to remake brands to be more adaptable, better at learning and above all, able to tie together the strands of product, sales marketing and service that make up the customer experience,” according to the report.