Execs say CX is a top priority—but 9 out of 10 brands are ill-equipped to meet expectations

by | May 25, 2021 | Public Relations

Anyone who reads PR and media intelligence news (including Bulldog Reporter) knows how urgent the CX crisis has become—but new research from knowledge engagement firm Bloomfire shows that a whopping 88 percent of companies are ill-equipped to handle customer expectations, which have continued to rise during the pandemic.

More specifically, they still face the operational obstacles of integrating customer knowledge into workflows, cross-functional collaboration, and real-time access to consumer insights, according to the firm’s newly released Five Best Practices to Future-Proof the Customer Experience study, conducted by 451 Research.

While most businesses cite the customer experience as a top priority for the next year, only 12 percent say they currently have best-in-class CX strategies and processes in place. Overcoming operational challenges—becoming more agile in meeting customer needs and raising the maturity of the customer experience team—will be critical to staying competitive in an ever-changing business environment.

Characteristics of organizations at various stages on the CX maturity spectrum:

Execs say CX is a top priority—but 9 out of 10 brands are ill-equipped to meet expectations

“The most agile and competitive businesses know that knowledge is a strategic advantage and have a best-in-class single source of knowledge,” said Mark Hammer, CEO of Bloomfire, in a news release. “The pandemic has accelerated both increased customer expectations and the move to a hybrid workforce, so this is a critical moment for companies to have the right knowledge engagement technology in place in service of helping gain insight into and deliver optimal customer experiences.”

Companies report lack of centralized leadership over CX strategy

Eighty-nine percent of respondents reported that one department had a leading role in the planning and delivery of their CX strategy, but the survey also shows that each CX team assumes they play the largest part: Customer Service (66 percent), Marketing (62 percent) and Sales (56 percent). This lack of leadership is exacerbated by significant obstacles in legacy technologies, organizational silos, and IT struggling to keep pace with how quickly CX teams need to move.

Many businesses lack centralized leadership over their CX strategies:

Execs say CX is a top priority—but 9 out of 10 brands are ill-equipped to meet expectations

Survey respondents indicated that businesses are trying to address these issues in the next 12 months, with 44 percent introducing new leadership to manage digital experiences and 46 percent of CX teams centralizing more of their customer experience strategy to better align their Marketing, Sales, Customer Experience, and Customer Insight teams.

Businesses must integrate the right technologies with people processes for best CX delivery

Fifty-four percent of organizations with a company-wide digital transformation strategy in place also have what they regard as a best-in-class, automated single source of knowledge. In contrast:

  • 45 percent of businesses reported that fewer than half of their CX decisions are made using data,
  • Only 26 percent believe they have a single source of truth across their knowledge assets that’s available company-wide and across the customer journey,
  • 47 percent of businesses report having inconsistent, siloed or reactive customer processes, and
  • 45 percent are more consolidated and efficient but still only at the departmental level.

Study participants cited other obstacles to combining data and knowledge management as part of a mature CX strategy: the effort needed to keep information up-to-date, a lack of collaboration around important information, knowledge lost to employee turnover, and knowledge that exists outside of key workflows.

Top operational priorities:

Execs say CX is a top priority—but 9 out of 10 brands are ill-equipped to meet expectations

“We’re seeing success in simplifying access to insights so that everyone can find and act on customer research—and that in turn is helping our organization stay aligned around the customer experience,” said Derek Fetzer, director of customer insights & market access at Regeneron, in the release. “With the volume and complexity of our research assets growing, we chose Bloomfire as our knowledge management solution. We were looking for a solution that, first and foremost, would be easy for everyone to use right away. We didn’t want to have any barriers to entry: we wanted stakeholders to be able to jump into the platform and start learning.”

Businesses want to improve cross-functional collaboration

To upgrade their CX maturity and keep pace with the competition, 37 percent of customer experience professionals say their top priority for the next year is increased collaboration across teams. To improve this cross functionality, companies are adding new technology that supports knowledge sharing among CX stakeholders, documents subject matter expertise, raises awareness of different customer needs across CX groups, and increases visibility into workflows to eliminate duplications of effort.

Improving collaboration with stakeholders across the business a priority:

Execs say CX is a top priority—but 9 out of 10 brands are ill-equipped to meet expectations

Download the full report here.

The survey solicited data from 300 customer experience industry leaders in the US and Canada working at enterprise-level companies across six vertical industry sectors.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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