Dimension Data, the USD 8 billion global technology integrator and managed services provider for hybrid IT, today revealed the findings of its annual CX (Customer Experience) Benchmarking Report. It urges organisations to address a “customer experience disconnect” that could cost a loss in business or put their business at risk in competitive markets where consumer loyalty is critical.
Research from Dimension Data showed that 67% of respondents from the Asia Pacific region felt that customer experience is not represented at board level, with lower-level management or multiple managers often assuming responsibility. Furthermore, only 21% said their organisation takes a fully integrated, centralised approach to customer experience.
However, the research showed that most business respondents in Asia Pacific recognise customer experience as an important competitive differentiator (91%) that is also vital for driving loyalty (90%), revenue growth (69%), and cost reduction (52%).
Despite this, the research revealed that nearly a quarter of respondents (20%) are dissatisfied with their own customer experience services, and only 11% believe they are delivering experiences that would lead customers to recommend them to others.
This is resulting in an ‘artificial reality’, where companies are talking about CX, but not delivering on it, creating a gap between their CX ambitions and actual CX capabilities. Businesses are looking at several CX technologies, such as customer analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and digital integration, but aren’t currently able to implement them properly.
Pranay Anand, Solutions Director for Customer Experience, Dimension Data Asia Pacific said, “Customer experience must be higher on the agenda for every business and the whole organisation should get behind it. Brands acknowledge how crucial customer experience is, yet so few are making it a board level responsibility, leaving it siloed or delegating it to individual managers. There’s an artificial reality between organisations’ CX ambitions and making real change that benefits the customer. This disconnect must be resolved. Brands must make customer experience the priority they say it is.”
The research also revealed that many brands are turning to technology to improve customer experience, but often without a clear strategy. Some 37% of businesses in Asia Pacific said the digital solutions they have rolled out (such as chatbots and AI) do not provide the functionality their customers need, while around 64% of respondents said customer awareness of such technologies is the biggest barrier to adoption.
Anand added, “Technology is an enabler supporting and improving customer experience, but it’s not simply a case of flicking a switch for it to work. Claiming that the technology doesn’t provide the required functionalities or that customers are unaware of it, is a result of failed planning and communication not failed technology. Brands need to invest in technology, people, processes, and planning.”
Nancy Jamison, Principal Analyst for Customer Care at Frost & Sullivan, advised that brands should look to address these areas of disconnect within their business and measure, benchmark and report effectively to ensure such disconnects don’t creep back in.
“Customer experience benchmarking is more important than ever. Brands need to invest in customer experience but they also need to know that those investments are paying off. And if they’re not, they need to know what to change. Right now, it looks like brands aren’t putting the right kind of focus on customer experience and, as a result, they’re not seeing the outcomes they want. That’s bad for them, and their customers,” she said.