In November 2018, we asked 2,000 customer experience (CX) professionals about the state of their company’s customer experience strategies, methods, goals, and obstacles, and turned the insight into the report you see below.
Let’s dive into the data and show you what successful companies are doing differently, so you can follow their approach to improve your company’s customer experience.
In November 2018, we asked a panel of 2,000 CX professionals from the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and the EU 19 specific questions about the state and success of their companies' CX strategies.
(For more information on the participants' background, check out the demographic data at the end of this page.)
In order to gain more meaningful insights into the results, we had respondents categorize themselves into one of four levels: ignore, novice, competent, and mature.
Only 12% of companies identify as being Mature CX companies, while 38% identify themselves as Young, 40% as First Steps, and 10% as Ignore.
Categorizing companies in this way, we discovered that CX leaders reported much higher revenues than their counterparts. In fact, 42% of Mature companies have an annual revenue of over $100M, while almost half of Ignore companies make less than $1M a year.
But that's not all—Mature companies also have very clear priorities and trusted methods they rely on when it comes to executing a successful CX strategy. Here’s what else we discovered:
Hands down, Mature companies are focused on delivering the most outstanding experience possible—more than any other goal, including increasing their bottom line.
As a company’s CX maturity level grows, so does the way it views its own culture.
4 out of 10 Mature companies see themselves as a customer-centric company that put their customers at the center of everything they do. That’s a 2.5X increase from Ignore companies.
Mature companies are also much less likely to see themselves as profit-centric. Only 1 in 10 do so (even though their revenues are much higher—see the above revenue chart).
Companies with successful CX initiatives prioritize ‘old-school’ methods, such as talking directly to their customers, having the best talent on board, and doing market research, much more than their less successful counterparts.
In fact, almost ⅔ of Mature companies rely on these on these methods as the top methods to successfully execute their CX strategy.
And they rely far less on ‘over-hyped’ methods such as chatbots, predictive analytics, and augmented reality than their less successful counterparts.
In other words, the more Mature companies don’t get distracted by ‘shiny’ objects and stay focused on what they know will deliver results.
Among Mature, Competent, and Novice companies, customer surveys and customer calls are the top methods used to better understand individual customers.
Ignore companies, however, tend to focus a significant amount of effort on live chat and social media—more than any other maturity level.
Not only is collecting direct customer feedback critical for companies to execute their strategy: feedback is also the building block for creating the strategy to begin with.
Almost half of Mature companies stated that customer feedback is the main driver of their overall CX strategy. That’s quite a contrast compared to Ignore companies, where only 1 in 5 companies does the same.
In fact, 2 out of 3 of Ignore companies base their strategy on either market trends, industry best practices, HiPPOs (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion), and gut feeling.
Across all maturity levels, lack of employee knowledge and training is the biggest obstacle that keeps companies from reaching their CX goals.
However, 1 in 3 Mature companies reported they don’t have any obstacles keeping them from achieving their CX goals.
That’s 5X higher than the number of Competent companies reporting the same, and 11X higher than Novice and Ignore companies.
Even though a large number of Mature companies reported having no obstacles in the way of reaching their CX goals, they still prioritize improving employee knowledge and training.
1 out of every 5 Mature and Competent companies selected it as the main initiative they are taking, while only 1 in 10 Ignore companies prioritize the same thing.
Instead, Ignore companies are focused more on improving company operations and investing in new technology and software.
It doesn’t matter how mature a company’s CX initiatives get—everyone struggles to respond to their customers in a timely manner.
Across the board, having to wait for a response from a company was the #1 frustration that customers have during their experience with it, with 1 in 5 respondents across all maturity levels selecting it as the top pick.
Also interesting: the number of complaints about rude or angry employees, which are perceived as another frustrating component of the customer experience, drops by almost 6X as a company goes from Ignore to Mature.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT, or how satisfied your customers are with your company’s products or services) is the most important CX metric for Mature, Competent, and Novice companies.
Ignore companies tend to focus more on First Response Time (FRT, or how long it takes for a company to first respond to a customer’s issue or request) and sales and revenue instead.
Not surprisingly, the number of companies that don’t track a CX metric decreases by 7X as their maturity level increases.
Again, companies with a Mature approach to CX outshine the rest.
3 out of 5 Mature companies have seen their CX metric go up in the last year, and only 1 in 10 have seen it go down.
Compare that to Ignore companies, where over half have seen their metric go down, and only around 1 in 10 have seen it go up.
3 out of every 10 Mature company employees have over half of their workforce involved in CX initiatives, while two-thirds of Ignore companies have just 1 in 5 or fewer employees involved in CX initiatives.
1 in 4 Mature companies is spending over half of their yearly budget on CX-related initiatives.
The Ignore companies? Almost half are spending 10% or less of their budget on CX initiatives.
While 6 out of 10 Mature companies are seeing their amount budgeted towards CX initiatives grow, almost half of Ignore companies are seeing their CX budget shrink.
Want to know more about who participated in this study? We asked each of our 2,000 participants the following questions:
Here’s the breakdown: