Your Business WILL NOT Survive to 2020 Unless You Take These 3 Steps

What!?

My business won’t survive?

Okay, maybe that is a bit extreme,  but have you taken a look at how much it really matters that you pay attention to your customers’ needs?

Have you ever asked them?

Well, we did!

I recently managed a global survey that we at Avaya conducted asking both customers and businesses about key elements of customer experience management – from expectations, to knowledge, to execution.

Make it EASY! Your customers agree!

Almost everyone out there, 88% of those surveyed, would rather spend money with organizations that are easy to do business with.  Why then do only 46% of organizations have initiatives in place to reduce customer effort, and only 28% of managers believe customer effort significantly impacts spending, satisfaction and retention?

The gap between consumer requirements and organizations ability to deliver against those requirements is particularly evident when looking at the following consumer expectations:

  • 69% of consumers expect unique treatment, contacted in a way they want, with tailored offers
  • 66% of consumers spend money with those that treat them as an individual
  • 92% of consumers expect companies to notify them in advance of problems

However, 83% of organizations cannot deliver all these requirements for a completely seamless customer experience automatically and in real time!  This is a serious gap, especially when it is so easy for our customers to find our competitors that are paying better attention to them.

Define a strategy… then execute it!

Among those organizations with comprehensive CEM programs, all of them confirmed improvements to their business, with the biggest improvements experienced in customer satisfaction, loyalty, retention and repeat purchasing.

This again supports that the majority of consumers (88%) would rather spend their money with companies that make it easy for them to buy. Not only that, but 81% of those organizations who have seen a significant increase in profits have a CEM program in place, compared to those who have seen profits remain static (46%) or suffered a decrease in profits (35%).

On a positive note, more organizations do seem to recognize the importance of CEM on overall business performance.

95% of managers interviewed said CEM will be important to their organization in 2014. However, only 59% of organizations stated they have comprehensive CEM program in place today. This means there are a large number of organizations who do not have a CEM program in place.

Why?

For those surveyed, the biggest obstacle preventing them from deploying a CEM program is that different departments own different parts of the customer experience (37%), something which is becoming even more challenging in today’s multi-channel environment.

But merely having a CEM program in place does not guarantee success: A staggering 81% of organizations have seen their CEM initiatives fail in the last three years. Moreover, 43% of Managing Directors, CEOs and owners think the top reason for CEM failure is project misalignment with customer preferences, indicating communication barriers within organizations themselves.

A rather perplexing situation when you consider that Customer Experience Management (CEM, the discipline of managing and treating customer relationships as assets, with the goal of moving satisfied customers to loyal customers, and loyal customers to advocates of your brand) activities appear to be strongly and positively tied to business success and growth trajectories.

Ask your customers what they want! (Then do it)

A significant 77% of global consumers say the way they deal with companies has changed in the last 12 months.  30% said a misalignment with customer preferences caused their #CEM to fail. Given that, it would seem organizations which ignore Customer Experience Management do so at their peril.

To learn more about this research, download the global survey results summary here.

To read the press release, click here.

Survey Methodology:

The survey was conducted globally across 13 countries by independent market research firm Dynamic Markets on behalf of Avaya including: United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Russia, China, Singapore, Japan, India and Australia. 1,268 businesses with more than 1,500 employees were interviewed, 54 percent of who are at senior-management level or above. 8,500 adult consumers were surveyed; 49 percent of who are male and 51 percent female.

Natalie Keightley is responsible for Portfolio Marketing within Avaya’s Customer Experience Management Product Marketing unit, and is based in Guildford, UK. In this role Natalie is responsible for developing Avaya’s strategic messaging and thought leadership in Customer Experience Management, to promote Avaya’s market leadership with customers, analysts and media.

Natalie’s 18 year career in IT and Telecoms has focused on helping businesses deploy IT and Communications solutions to achieve business results and covers business analysis, strategy development, product marketing and IT consulting.

Natalie has been with Avaya since 2000, and holds an MBA from Henley Management College, UK, and a Bachelor of Commerce Honours from the University of the Witwatersrand, RSA.