Making long term investments in customer experience translates to better business performance, according to research released by Adobe.

A Forrester Consulting study commissioned by Adobe found “experience-driven businesses” (EDBs) in the APAC region grow revenue faster and get more out of their investments than their competitors. The research supports Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen’s argument that experiences are now a key differentiator.

“Products and services are, in our mind, becoming commoditised,” said Scott Rigby, Head of Digital Transformation, Adobe, during a press briefing at Adobe Symposium 2018 in Sydney.

“A lot of times customers can’t really tell the difference between brands and services unless you’re using customer experience to be able to do that. The experience is really the differentiator.”

The report, The Business Impact of Investing in Experience: A spotlight on Asia Pacific, highlights the APAC results from a global study of 1300 organisations and includes survey results from 445 companies in the local region. 

According to the study, a clear majority of organisations (81 per cent) are investing in customer and prospect experience. However, just 29 per cent were classified as EDBs – organisations making broad investments in CX which “significantly” outperforming their peers.

Local leaders

EDBs in APAC are more likely to be companies in the retail, financial services, and manufacturing industries with between 1,000 and 5,000 employees. They are also likely to have been disrupted, according to Rigby, a challenge that has helped lay the “foundational groundwork” for EDBs.

“They’ve been working towards reimagining what they’re customer experience might look like in the new world. And so they’ve made early investments to be able to be much more customer experience focused.”

The experience leaders excel in people, process and technology, according to the report, with dedicated and growing budgets for CX and marketing initiatives. According to the study, those investments pay off.

Experience driven businesses report faster top-line growth (23 per cent versus 13 per cent for non-EDBS). EDBs also outperform competition in brand awareness, customer acquisition and customer retention, according to the research. Those customers are more engaged as are the employees in EDBs, according to the study.

Source: The Business Impact of Investing in Experience: A spotlight on Asia Pacific

The platform opportunity

During a media briefing to discuss the results, Adobe Head of Digital Transformation, Scott Rigby, told Which-50 non-NDBs had an opportunity to capitalise on the learnings of experience leaders. 

A major challenge, Rigby said, is upgrading legacy systems to enable the creation of experiences – often a considerable investment for incumbents. However, Rigby argues platform providers offer a viable solution, allowing organisations to become more experience driven without an extensive best of breed tech stack. 

Even larger legacy businesses have been able to change to become EDBs, according to Rigby.

“When it comes to customer experience, it’s not always easy, in fact it can be quite painful. It doesn’t happen overnight, and for the businesses that are listed as experience driven businesses, they made this broad ranged long term investment to be able to delve customer experience,” Rigby said.

Rigby was unable to confirm if the gap between EDBs and the pack is growing in APAC as the local study is the first time Adobe had analysed EDBs in the region to such an extent. Research from Gartner suggests their is a growing gap between CX leaders and laggards, with those at the top being disproportionately rewarded.

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