Customer experience (CX) teams are under pressure to effectively demonstrate how their strategies will deliver value, and to secure funding and support from management.
This is one of the main topics up for discussion at the ITWeb CX Summit 2023, to be held on 5 October at the Maslow Hotel, Sandton.
A panel discussion on the role of CX in drivimg revenue and valuie for the business forms part of the agenda for the day. Marnitz van Heerden, Head of CX at Discovery Health, will participate in the panel.
Speaking to ITWeb ahead of the event, Van Heerden says, “Typically, and especially in larger businesses, executives are asked by their CX teams to make significant investments in technology, people, and other related assets to execute their CX strategy. Without a clear value and return on investment, that ask will be difficult for executives to deliver on.”
According to Forrester, 54% of CX leaders have confirmed that they struggle to show the value of their CX strategies, projects, and initiatives.
Van Heerden says the reasons for this vary – from having a CX strategy that is too narrow and primarily focused on reducing the cost to serve customers, to poor data and analytics which fail to link CX improvements to direct revenue and return on investment drivers. In addition, it has to do with how CX improvements and opportunities are identified, and the maturity of the customer-centric culture of the business itself.”
Van Heerden believes a key aspect of CX strategy is to innovate and find ways of meeting a customer need in a way that is profitable for the business, but he acknowledges this is easier said than done.
“If it was that easy, all companies would’ve been exceptional at CX. It is unfortunately not, and many CX teams simply give up the pursuit to create more value for customers because they don’t find innovative solutions to make that value creation profitable for their business,” he says.
Van Heerden’s advice is for companies to enhance the right aspects of the CX – those that are impprtant to customers, and will help them reach a goal or solve a problem better than any competitor in the market.
Too many businesses conflate customer experience and service strategy, he says.
"While both are critical to the long-term success of a business, they serve very different purposes and create value for businesses in very different ways. I am seeing too many businesses thinking that their customer service strategy is a CX strategy, and they are expecting the value from their service strategy to mimic that of a CX strategy and are then disappointed when that does not happen.”
Trends to watch
Van Heerden speaks about ‘liquid customer expectations’, which are not just shaped by their experiences within one industry or market, but their experiences in general. "We are at a point where CX leaders need to rapidly shift and respond to changing customer expectations. Good is not good enough any longer, and focusing on the specific industry of a business, and using that as a benchmark for what good CX looks like will set that CX strategy up for failure.”
Other significant trends include the resurgence of emotive CX design, highlighting the need for businesses to achieve balance between automation, empathy, and emotions, as well as AI, machine learning and big data.
While many brands have not yet captured true value for customers through AI, Van Heerden believes that VR, AR, and immersive experiences will provide opportunities for exceptional customer experiences in the future.