Service providers, pay attention: Customers are changing their priorities and technology is the catalyst.
In today’s mobile technology and cloud computing environments, customers are changing how they measure their experience as it relates to project rollouts, expecting faster and more streamlined rollouts. This is putting pressure of solution providers, who must always set customer expectations and ultimately deliver.
Cementing what solution providers have already been experiencing is a recent Gartner study stating that businesses have changed their customer experience priorities for 2015. The survey was conducted this past January with 289 Gartner Research Circle Members participating.
"The study examines what [customer experience] projects have been carried out in 2014 and what projects are being worked on in 2015. This provides a great overview of how things are changing in [customer experience]," said Nick Inglebrecht, research director at Gartner, in a prepared statement. "The findings also underline the fact that customer experience improvements are complex undertakings. There is no silver bullet that will, by itself, improve the overall experience. But the combination of projects, if implemented well, can cumulatively contribute to the improvement of an organization's customer experiences."
This is something that solution providers have seen in the market for some time as customers have become more demanding, a result of technology making them more efficient. The main areas of focus for customer programs are to improve the collection and analysts of customer and data and feedback to improve communications, the survey found.
In fact, the most frequently cited projects among survey respondents were those associated with collecting and analyzing customer feedback and communicating actions to employees and customers, according to the Gartner study. This was followed by reconfiguring customer process.
Further, activating self-service and tools to select, order, track and stop product purchases came in third, according to survey results. Standardizing approaches to segmentation, honoring data privacy and focusing on the benefits of building trust were last among survey respondents.
However, what organizations are realizing is that improving customer experience many times changes how an organization is run, such as processes around supply chain and how they are ultimately communicating with their customers. Gartner found that more than 33 percent of survey participants said their customer experience improvement projects during 2014 involved significant changes of their business models.
"Not all business model changes are of equal significance, but there appears to be a recognition among the more mature organizations that [customer experience] projects span organizational boundaries and fundamentally affect the way the organization operates," said Ingelbrecht. "As a result, Gartner predicts that by 2018, more than 50 percent of organizations will implement significant business model changes in their efforts to improve customer experience."
For 2015, the top three projects planned for are self-service projects, multichannel orchestration activities and collecting and analyzing customer feedback, according to Gartner. Surprisingly, data privacy is getting less attention than in 2015 regardless of all the high-profile data breaches.
"There are perhaps signs of a realization here that [customer experience] is more than just customer satisfaction; you actually have to drive word-of-mouth recommendations and give your existing customers more reasons to keep coming back to you," Ingelbrecht said.
Knock 'em alive!