With everything that marketers do to woo customers, the customer experience (CX) is often the key indicator of whether customers will fall in love with a brand. So, it should be no surprise that marketers are absolutely infatuated with CX.
Consider the following data from the “Customer Experience Management Survey” by Econsultancy and SDL: 89% of senior marketers for North American retail companies (managers and above with annual revenues averaging $500 million) agree or strongly agree that the “customer experience is their brand.” What’s more, 49% strongly agree that CX is a catalyst of transformation at their company, and 41% strongly agree that CX is second only to product in terms of its impact on revenue. And marketers aren’t afraid to put their money where their mouths are. Almost half of the senior marketers surveyed (49%) plan to somewhat increase their CX budgets this year, and one third intend to increase their budgets significantly—more than 10%. Still, 18% expect no increase.
Although marketers love all customers, the more they understand a customer, the better the relationship. When it comes to the customer journey, almost three fourths of senior marketers (74%) have a strong understanding of their returning customers; this figure drops to 65% for new customers. Consequently, marketers use different tactics to attract these two audiences. Product offering was the primary way that 54% of senior marketers differentiate their brand in terms of attracting new customers. Price (45%) and specifically designed content (44%) were also key tactics. As for differentiating the experience to sell to and retain existing customers, 47% of respondents rely on the overall online customer experience. Similarly, 44% turn to personalization and 37% depend on specifically designed content.
Of course, marketers can always strengthen their relationships with customers through data. In terms of accessing customer data, respondents say they can view customers’ purchase history (73%), location and time (69%), current digital behavior (53%), language (52%), and past digital behavior (48%). But are marketers making this a one-sided relationship and taking data they don’t need? Although 37% of senior marketers can access device usage, for example, only 9% consider this information important. Likewise, 32% of senior marketers can view where customers last came from (such as search or a social post), but just 10% say that this data is important. As for measuring the impact of the customer experience, senior marketers look at customer satisfaction surveys or Net Promoter Scores (63%), customer loyalty or membership numbers (57%), average basket size or order value (46%), conversion rate (46%), return purchases or visits (43%), and revenue (28%).
And while marketers are falling head over heels for customer experiences, their CX-related technology may not be able to keep up. Although 97% of senior marketers deem integration across their CX management technologies as important, very important, or vital to their growth, this is only a reality for 40% of respondents. In fact, about half of senior marketers list investing in technology (52%) and integration of technology (51%) as their greatest barriers to successful CX management. Therefore, marketers need to ensure that all of their CX technologies are in synch—before they let the customers they love get away.
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