My recent research about what companies are doing in customer experience is a bit like a state of the union address. So I decided to frame my findings by “borrowing” snippets from a couple of presidential speeches:
“The spirit that has sustained this nation [of customer experience change agents] for more than two centuries lives on in you, its people… But a new year has come. A new decade stretches before us. We don’t quit. I don’t quit.” (President Obama, 2010 State of The Union Address)
“We can go forward with confidence, because the State of our Union [of customer experience change agents] is strong, our cause in the world is right, and tonight that cause goes on.” (President Bush, 2007 State Of The Union Address)
The research I mentioned is a new report called The State Of Customer Experience, 2010 which examines survey responses from 141 executives from large North American firms. Here are some of the findings from the research:
- 90% of respondents think that customer experience is very important or critical to their 2010 strategy.
- 80% want to use customer experience as a form of differentiation.
- Only 11% have a “very disciplined” approach to customer experience.
- 62% have some form of a voice of the customer (VoC) program.
- Lack of customer experience strategy is the number one obstacle; lack of budget (last year’s top obstacle) dropped significantly as an issue.
- When asked to rate their effectiveness meeting customer needs, they gave themselves the lowest marks for getting customer service online and the highest marks for buying products in a store.
- Less than one-third of respondents believe that their company exhibits these customer experience competencies:
- The quality of interactions with target customers is closely monitored.
- Employees across the company are recognized and rewarded for improving the experience.
- Decision-making processes systematically incorporate the needs of target customers.
- Employees across the company share a consistent and vivid image of target customers.
- The competencies with the most improvements from last year all have to do with focusing on the brand:
- Employees fully understand the key attributes of our brand.
- Our company’s brand drives how we design customer experiences.
- The attributes of our company’s brand are well-defined.
- 49% of respondents have a senior executive in charge of customer experience efforts. Firms with customer experience leaders are:
- More ambitious about differentiating with customer experience.
- More active with efforts like voice of the customer programs.
- Less encumbered by every obstacle except one: Lack of funding.
- More mature in all 12 customer experience competencies.
The bottom line: We have a lot to do in 2010!