U.S. and UK business executives rank customer experience above sales and revenue as their key focus in 2017, according to a new report from CX and analytics software Calabrio.

A full 100 percent of the C-suite survey respondents are prioritizing the customer, in contrast to just 58 percent who cited sales and revenue as their primary concern.

The importance of delivering exceptional customer experiences is now more apparent than ever. More than half (52 percent) of senior leadership globally view customer experience as the most important way of differentiating their brand., according to the report, Success in The Experience Era: Connecting Customer and C-suite.

customer experience focus

However, the study uncovers that companies and their C-suites have hurdles to clear before they can fully understand and engage customers. For example, nearly half (47 percent) of CMOs feel that they do not have the right tools deployed in order to understand their customers’ greatest challenges. And, at the heart of the problem is a lack of clear customer ownership post-sale—only 35 percent of CMOs believe that using customer data insights is their responsibility, while a mere 29 percent claimed ownership. Looking further across the C-suite, only 37 percent of chief executive officers stake a claim on improving customer experiences.

customer experience focus

“It is clear that the customer is paramount to success. But the challenge comes in understanding how customers interact with businesses, particularly when it comes to the contact center,” said Tom Goodmanson, president and CEO at Calabrio, in a news release. “The challenge is two-fold: first to ensure businesses are gathering accurate customer insights as a rich source of business intelligence, and secondly to understand how this data can be used to inform wider business improvement and customer engagement strategies.”

Download the full report here.

The firm surveyed 844 senior business decision makers from across the globe, including more than 350 C-level executives, on their business priorities and views on customer experience.

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