In an age when consumers can reach a competitor in a click, customer experience (CX) is the key differentiator.
That importance is reflected in a new report on the topic from research firm Gartner.
According to the “2019 Customer Experience Management Survey” [clients only], 74 percent of CX leaders plan on budget increases this year, compared to 47 percent in the previous 2017 survey.
From the Gartner report
“Organizations have matured in their understanding of the business outcomes that CX delivers,” Gartner VP and analyst Augie Ray said in a statement.
The survey found that marketers who understand the importance of customer satisfaction to business results opt for a larger budget to support CX.
Ray told ClickZ via email that the new study found respondents inside marketing “were much more likely than in 2017 to report that they have sole responsibility for key initiatives supporting CX.”
As an example, 38 percent of respondents in the 2017 study said their department was the only one supporting Voice of Customer efforts, while that figure is now 54 percent.
The exact same percentages applied to marketers in 2017 and in 2019 who said their department was the only one supporting the definition of customer personas, which specifies the particular types of occupations, personalities and demographics for which a particular CX is designed.
Additionally, only 11 percent of 2019 respondents said their organization did not have a Chief Experience Officer or the equivalent.
In 2017, that percentage was 39 percent. Similarly, 93 percent of 2019 respondents said their CX program meets management expectations, a huge increase from the 41 percent in 2017.
When budgeting for CX, a key question is how to determine the business value. Seventy-five percent of the marketing leaders responding in this year’s report said they had calculated the business impact of improving CX, a figure which had only been 48 percent two years ago.
To that aim, Gartner makes several recommendations. For instance, it suggests that organizations can employ customer data that shows the impact of satisfied customers, since customer satisfaction is the key goal of customer experience efforts.
Satisfied customers can boost revenue, lower churn, lower the cost to serve or resell, generate positive social posts and word-of-mouth, and point the way to new products or services.
Given the positive assessment of CX investment, Ray said he expected more respondents to indicate a significant increase in their CX budget.
Although 74 percent said they expected an increase this year, only 20 percent expect a significant increase while 54 percent look for a slight increase.
The decision on the size of the budgetary increases, he pointed out, is made against a background where 86 percent of respondents said this year that they expect their organization to compete completely – or almost completely – on the basis of CX, within two years.
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