Companies recognise the importance of the multi-channel customer experience but are typically failing to adopt a strategy or framework to enable a single customer view, according to research.
The study, from Econsultancy and Foviance, has found that only 22% of companies have a well-developed strategy for improving the customer experience, and that nearly one in 10 companies (9%) say there is no strategy in place.
A further 69% say they are just beginning to develop the strategy.
This is despite the fact that almost half of company respondents (49%) say that a joined-up multichannel customer experience is “very important” to their organisation, and a further 41% say it is “quite important”. More than two thirds of companies (68%) recognise a strong link between long-term business performance and customer, the research found.
The Multichannel Customer Experience Report, published by Econsultancy in association with customer experience consultancy Foviance, is based on a survey of more than 500 companies and agencies. The research found that nine different online and offline touch points are relevant for at least half of the companies surveyed.
Survey respondents were asked how close their own organisations are to having a single view of the customer. Only 32% of companies say they have the integrated systems and processes required to give customers a joined-up experience.
Econsultancy’s Research Director Linus Gregoriadis said: “It is clear that while the vast majority of companies understand the impact on business performance, very few organisations have integrated, cross-channel processes and systems in place, or a strategy to help them to achieve this.”
Foviance CEO Paul Blunden said: “The rise of social networks has put the power with customers and it has never been more important for organisations to create an environment where customers notice a positive difference. Customers are no longer prepared to accept that businesses are still learning and view their multichannel interactions through a single lens sharing their experiences widely and candidly.”
Gregoriadis added: “An increasing number of online and offline customer touch points are making it even more difficult for organisations to ensure a consistent cross-channel customer experience based on the holy grail of a single customer view.
“Companies are typically trying to integrate systems and adopt a customer-centric approach, but haven’t yet reached the stage where they have properly managed to harness these different processes in a way which allows for seamless cross-channel engagement.”
Respondents were asked to indicate the most significant barriers which prevent them from improving the multichannel customer experience.
• The greatest barrier is organisational structure, which is one of the three greatest barriers for 41% of respondents.
• The next most significant issue is complexity of customer experience, cited as a major barrier by 38% of respondents.
According to the report, many organisations are lacking an individual or department to take responsibility for the customer experience within the business. For some companies, the problem is compounded by a lack of budget.
• More than a third of companies surveyed (38%) say that ownership of the multichannel customer experience lies with a mixture of different departments, and less than a third of companies (31%) have a budget which is dedicated to improving the customer experience.
• More than a quarter of companies (28%) say there is no budget at all for improving the customer experience, while a further 41% say that they use budget which was assigned for other things.
The report is available to Econsultancy subscribers, or on a pay-per-view basis, from the following URL: