CMOs failing to invest in customer experience

Mark Johnson's picture
by Mark Johnson

Companies are missing out on long term sales by failing to invest in suitable customer experience programmes for their valued brands.

London-based digital agency AmazeRealise has just published new research which showed that 36 per cent of chief marketing officers admit their brand still hasn’t invested in customer experience (CX).

This, despite 88 per cent saying they expected a focused CX programme to yield long-term customer loyalty and increasing sales over time.

The survey of over 100 senior CX professionals from national and international brands of all sizes was carried out by digital agency AmazeRealise and forms part of its new report: The CX Challenge.

Lack of investmnet in CX

As many as 77 per cent of CMOs confessed that their business has spent less than one per cent of its annual turnover on enhancing CX. 

The top three reasons cited for this lack of investment were that they didn’t know enough about it, the perceived cost of implementation and that they had trouble building the business case for its positive impact based on results.

In addition, around one in five (22 per cent) said the lack of investment came from organisational blockers and team structure and 11 per cent blamed a lack of C-suite support and senior buy-in.

“There’s still a huge and growing gap between customer expectations and the reality of what brands are delivering, especially when you see smaller, more agile disruptors entering the market place and being able to be much more forward-thinking with their digital experiences”, said Chris Barnes, Customer Experience Officer at AmazeRealise.

“According to Forrester research, CX improvements have stalled for a third year in a row. 

“It’s clear that brands need to build trust with consumers, actually listen and take action.”

    CMO watch: Barnes said there's a gap between expectation and reality

    CMOs aware of issues

    In spite of the lack of investment, the survey found that the long-term business benefits of dedicated customer experience programmes were well understood by all CMOs. 

    As well as providing improved loyalty and sales, half of those surveyed (44 per cent) expected CX initiatives to lead to a decrease in costs and 25 per cent thought they would attract new customers through word-of-mouth recommendation.

    At the same time, those brands that had invested significantly in CX were experiencing those benefits in full: 25 per cent of those who’d invested in CX said the primary benefit to the business was increased sales, 22 per cent said it was greater customer loyalty and 22 per cent said it was receiving deeper consumer insight that enabled better decisions.

    “We all need to face up to the fact that customer experience is now a key factor in driving business growth”, Barnes said. 

    “The key is to bring everyone along on your journey. It can be immensely satisfying when you can see that the changes you’re making have a tangible impact on your bottom line.”

    Key issues identified

    The research also asked CMOs to identify some of their CX challenges and to what extent they’re being managed.

    It revealed that:

    • Over half of respondents (55 per cent) don’t have a single view of all customer interactions across the business
    • 50 per cent can’t track their customers from offline to online
    • Over half (55 per cent) have no processes in place to measure the impact and costs of their CX
    • More than half (55 per cent) are aware that other brands in their industry are improving their own customer experience.

    Chris concludes: “Brands don’t need to do everything at once. They can start small and go for quick wins – and shouldn’t shy away from getting customers involved in beta testing. 

    “Every company has some key customer moments, from the welcome experience to how a business reacts when things go wrong. You can identify these key moments by talking to people and place the focus on doing them better.

    “A new brand could release a customer-focused service tomorrow that almost immediately makes another look behind the times. A Customer Experience journey should never end. It requires a culture of constant improvement.”

    AmazeRealise’s report discusses the huge gap between what customers want and what brands are currently delivering, all within the context of the survey results. CX is increasingly the measure by which customers judge businesses, but CMOs continue to underinvest.

    How to fix the CX issue

    The report also highlights the key things brands need to address when fixing their CX, namely:

    1. Organisation – start by embedding more iterative working practices – the right operational mindset can deliver incremental change and re-energise teams
    2. Insight & measurement – use qualitative and quantitative measurements to hear the voice of the customer and identify the moments that matter
    3. Realistic ambition – Identify the top three things that will make the biggest change, and start there
    4. Futureproof your brand – establish a culture of continuous improvement to stay one step ahead of the competition

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