Here’s the summary from a report called Eight Steps For Keeping Customer Experience Momentum During An Economic Downturn, which looked at responses from a recently fielded survey:

While most of the companies have lowered their financial outlooks, only a few felt that customer experience would become less important. However, if they do need to cut costs, companies ranked design agency services and focus groups high on the list of activities that might get trimmed back. In this environment, customer experience execs need to prepare for tightened budgets, intensified focus on costs, and customer dissatisfaction.

And here’s some data that I found to be most interesting:

  • 69% of respondents say their firms want to differentiate their customer experience from competitors while only 10% were willing to lag behind.
  • 42% of the respondents who said that the economy was changing their firm’s outlook felt that customer experience would become even more important, and only 15% felt that it would become less important.
  • 35% of respondents say that customer experience spending will get cut at a lower level than other efforts, and only 10% expect that it would get cut at a higher rate.

In case you’re interested, here are the eight steps that I outlined (also look at this post: Lead Your Company Out Of A Downturn):

  1. Keep an eye on the customer.
  2. Prioritize key moments of truth.
  3. Avoid across-the-board cuts.
  4. Aggressively seek usability improvements.
  5. Focus on small-scale cultural change.
  6. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
  7. Don’t give up on innovation.
  8. Gauge the CEO’s appetite for customer experience.

The bottom line: If the economy goes bad, your customer experience doesn’t need to follow.

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