Highlights From The 2011 Multichannel Customer Experience Report

Back in June/July Econsultancy and Foviance carried out an online survey on the multichannel customer experience and published this as a report.  The majority of the 650 respondents (68%) were UK based and represented a variety of sectors including retail, financial services, telecoms and travel.  So what are the highlights?  In the rest of this post I’ll share with you the points that stood out for me.

Integration of Customer Touchpoints

There is larger (“more pronounced”) gap between the leaders (the top 25% in terms of customer experience maturity) and the other companies when it comes to the integration of digital channels: website, email and digital advertising.

What are the most important organisational attributes for delivering a positive customer experience?

In terms of importance, starting with the most important, the report identified the following ten attributes:

  1. Commitment to customer experience from the Tops
  2. Motivated and empowered staff
  3. Enabling customers to interact seamlessly across channels
  4. Quick resolution of problems
  5. Exceeding customer expectations
  6. Efficient customer service
  7. Joined up internal systems and processes
  8. Visibility of customer behaviour across channels
  9. Single or joined-up customer database
  10. Consistent branding across channels

Customer experience takes some doing and I am not surprised that commitment by the Tops is rated as the most important attribute by 46% of the respondents.  I have my doubts on whether some of the other attributes are really attributes rather than outcomes e.g. exceeding customer expectations.

What are the key barriers organisations face in improving the customer experience?

The report identifies the following barriers with the most important first and the least important last:

  1. Complexity
  2. Difficulty of unifying customer related data sources
  3. Lack of strategy
  4. Organisational structure
  5. Lack of resources
  6. Lack of budget
  7. Channel conflict
  8. Focus on short term profit
  9. Lack of buy-in from the Tops
  10. Poor staff training

I am pleased to see complexity at the top as crafting and delivering a positive customer experience is not like putting some decorations on the cake.  It involves major change at all levels, across functional and channel silos and can involve significant change in policies, processes, data, technology and people dimensions.  Given the complexity I am surprised that so many respondents cited a lack of strategy as an important obstacle.  Where you have to grapple with complexity and make signficant ‘structural’ change you absolutely need a well thought out strategy and an associated implementation plan.

What are the key takeaways from the report?

The report ends with the following points:

  • The leaders (top 25% of companies when it comes to customer experience maturity) are much more likely to rate ‘motivated and empowered staff’ and ‘efficient customer service’ as being amongst the most important organisational attributes for positive multichannel customer experience.  These leaders are also most likely to have overcome technology and data related issues.
  • With the data, technology and process pieces already in place, the leaders are that much more likely to be exceeding customer expectations through motivated and empowered staff.
  • The leaders are also much better than other companies at using the full range of data sources to understand the customer experience.
  • A commitment to customer experience from the Tops is regarded as the key organisational attribute – significantly higher than other organisational attributes.
  • Complexity is viewed as being the key challenge (barrier) to improving the multichannel customer experience.
  • Only one quarter of the companies have a well developed strategy in place for improving the customer experience.

Author: Maz Iqbal

Experienced management consultant working at the intersection of strategy, customer, and technology. Combine a tendency to think strategically with a penchant for getting my hands dirty at the coalface of implementation.

One thought on “Highlights From The 2011 Multichannel Customer Experience Report”

  1. Hi Maz, interesting survey.

    It is, I suppose, no surprise that commitment from the top came out as the number 1 driver.

    What fascinating is that it didn’t come out as the biggest barrier as well (as in lack of commitment).

    It is no surprise complexity is an issue, we tend to make things marginally more complicated than we can cope with, I think it is a human trait, however, if their is commitment wouldn’t these organisations do something about it?

    James

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