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#ITWebCX2023: Experts advocate ‘outside-in’ approach to CX

Christopher Tredger
By Christopher Tredger, Portals editor
Johannesburg, 06 Oct 2023
From left: Marnitz van Heerden, head of customer experience, Discovery Health, Jordan Seke, CRM advocate, change manager and strategist, WITS University, Yugeshree Frylinck (CXPA), customer experience officer, managing consultant, strategist and founder, The CX Group, and moderator Farai Mubaiwa.
From left: Marnitz van Heerden, head of customer experience, Discovery Health, Jordan Seke, CRM advocate, change manager and strategist, WITS University, Yugeshree Frylinck (CXPA), customer experience officer, managing consultant, strategist and founder, The CX Group, and moderator Farai Mubaiwa.

Customer experience (CX) professionals need to prioritise the employee experience (EX) and show how their strategies will secure a return on investment to secure additional revenue and repeat business. 

During a panel discussion on the theme ‘The frontline of CX – walking the revenue and value line’, hosted at the ITWeb CX Summit 2023, experts emphasised that CX has become a priority for businesses, with the role of the chief experience officer (CXO) gaining importance.

Now the CX professional is expected to deliver on strategy, despite the challenges that exist. These include limited infrastructure, insufficient consideration of the employee experience, and a bottom-up approach to CX objectives. CXOs and teams face difficulties in securing management buy-in for CX initiatives and resources due to an inability to prove the value proposition and demonstrate the path to ROI.

According to Gartner, more than 70% of CX leaders face challenges in designing projects that deliver results. These difficulties are affecting CX overall and hindering businesses' ability to swiftly respond to the evolving needs of tech-savvy customers.

As per Accenture, 64% of surveyed customers express a desire for service providers to respond more quickly to their needs.

Marnitz van Heerden, head of customer experience at Discovery Health, referenced Forrester research indicating that 60% of CX teams struggle to demonstrate the value of CX and justify the business case. Moreover, due to a loss of credibility and diminished investment and support, one in five CX teams is expected to cease to exist.

“On the positive side, one in ten CX programmes and teams will flourish because they are able to show the business case… these are global statistics, but I would say South Africa is in a worse position.”

Van Heerden noted that locally, approximately 85% of companies face challenges securing management buy-in. However, he expressed hope that South Africa is gaining momentum in creating value from an outside-in perspective. “When you establish that realisation, value creation becomes easier. South Africa is at the forefront of value creation that happens outside the world that business lives in.”

Employee-centric

Jordan Seke, CRM advocate, change manager, and strategist at Wits University, emphasised the importance of prioritising employee experience (EX) before embarking on a CX strategy. 

Seke said employees are a business' initial customers. "Just as companies strive to build customer loyalty, they must also work to retain and engage their employees. High turnover and disengagement can be costly and disruptive. Employees have valuable insights into the customer experience, as they are often on the front lines of customer interactions… they can provide critical feedback on customer preferences, pain points, and emerging trends.”

Panelists agreed on the direct correlation between EX and its impact on CX as an enabler. 

“A positive employee experience – enhanced productivity and engagement – means that the business is more likely to go the extra mile to meet customer needs, resulting in improved customer experiences," said Seke.

They emphasized that in the modern landscape, consumers and employees prioritize purpose and practical solutions. Businesses solely focused on increasing revenue through customer experience may face challenges in surviving.

They stressed that modern consumers and employees prioritise purpose and practical solutions, and businesses focused solely on increasing revenue through customer experience may struggle to survive.

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