A CCO Alone Won’t Fix Your CX
Research shows that 89% of companies that lead with customer experience (CX) perform better financially than their competition. Brands that excel in CX promote a customer-centric culture and adopt inclusive approaches to CX that encompass all departments. These brands ingrain CX and experience management across the organization and, as a result, can react quickly to shifts in consumer behavior and the marketplace.
So why doesn’t every brand prioritize and embed CX across the entire organization? Well, it’s because organization-wide transformations are challenging. Even with a Chief Customer Officer (CCO) appointed to drive the collaboration, a successful CX initiative requires cooperation, integration, and overall cross-functional enterprise planning and support.
Why CX Is Important
The pandemic and the turbulent economy have dramatically influenced consumer behaviors and shopping preferences. Today’s customer looks beyond price to the experience delivered and service received when deciding where to spend their hard-earned dollars. In fact, research shows 79% of consumers say customer service is extremely important when choosing where to shop.
To meet and exceed customer expectations, brands must prioritize CX to inform insights and drive decisions that will grow their customer base and increase brand loyalty. As CX expert Blake Morgan states in her report, The Top 100 Most Customer-Centric Companies Of 2022, “Customers don’t want to go back to the way things were pre-pandemic. They expect companies to continue to personalize customer experiences, and meet customers where they are, whether that is at a digital doorstep or in a phygital experience.”
Priority #1: Break Down Silos
Recent research on CX leadership states organizational silos remain the biggest obstacle to CX success. Cooperation and collaboration across stakeholder groups are essential to CX transformations, as it requires companies to implement business strategies that promote customer focus across functional boundaries. A commitment and support from the CEO are necessary for an organization-wide focus on CX. In fact, the number of CX leaders that report directly to the CEO continues to rise (42% now compared with 39% two years ago).
Cross-functional participation in CX is important because it allows for a comprehensive view of the customer throughout their buyer journey and interactions across different channels. CX strategies need employee and executive-level input across all relevant functions to co-create and innovate the ideal customer experience for the brand. Everyone can add value to the process, and the entire organization performs better with a shared understanding of customer needs.
The cross-functional collaboration will also accelerate the adoption of CX initiatives, with those involved serving as champions and change agents for the CX transformation program. Lastly, representation from all organizational functions ensures resources and tools are developed for employees so they can deliver a competitively differentiated customer experience in their roles.
Priority #2: Integrate Technology and Humans
CX requires a holistic approach where technology and humanity unite to transform the customer journey and empower employees to deliver exceptional customer experience. Integrated technology and a comprehensive 360-customer view are essential for data-led insights that inform CX strategies. Brands need ways to manage data and develop unified views of their customers’ individual preferences, perceptions, and attitudes in order to deliver a personalized experience.
An interaction infrastructure that allows brands to design and deliver an omnichannel experience across the customer journey is also required. Today’s customer is savvy about how their data is collected and used, and they expect a seamless experience across all channels. Customers also demand high-quality interactions, personalized and delivered with empathy, whether their engagement is in-person or online.
AI-powered solutions help brands in a few ways. First, AI can automate the data analysis processes, providing teams such as marketing, sales, and customer support with a unified customer view and actionable insights faster. Additionally, AI-powered automation integrated with human resources allows brands to deliver richer, personalized experiences at scale and improve business outcomes.
As an example of the integration of technology and humanity, global retailer Decathlon scaled live chat throughout its website, granting customers access to a live agent for product inquiries, order status updates, and more. For this effort, Decathlon leveraged technology and partnered with Simplr to augment its support team with high-quality agents. The CX initiative was a success and increased revenue to the tune of $5 back for every $1 spent on Simplr.
Priority #3: Secure Resources and Support
There is growing financial pressure on CCOs and CX teams to prove the ROI of customer experience programs. At the same time, today’s real-time economy and consumer behavior mandate 24/7/365 customer support, instant access, and rapid resolutions. The combination creates a more challenging environment for CX leaders today than just two years ago.
As Forrester recently reported, human-assisted channels still lead in usage and customer preference despite investments in self-service capabilities. Chatbots and knowledge bases effectively resolve low-complexity inquiries, leaving more complex and emotionally charged conversations for human agents. However, self-service assistance improvements inherently put stress on human agents with increased call volume. It’s not surprising that contact centers are seeing turnover rates of 58%, according to a study by ICMI.
To secure resources and gain support, CX leaders must communicate the value of customer experience and be able to link initiatives to revenue or profit growth. CX leaders should prioritize investments in flexible solutions that enable 24/7 customer support coverage, increase conversions, eliminate backlogs, and maintain or improve customer satisfaction metrics while avoiding a significant investment. As Forrester covers in their 2023 Customer Experience Planning Guide, a well-designed self-service experience with AI-powered automation and smart escalation to a live agent will improve CX and reduce costs.
As an example of smart escalation, education technology company Chegg leveraged automation and Simplr’s support agents on the Human Cloud Network to decrease its ticket workload by 37%. The solution allowed Chegg to manage support volume fluctuations cost-effectively without compromising quality and lower its issue resolution costs.
In summary, organization-wide CX transformations are challenging but achievable with alignment on a CX strategy, cross-functional participation and cooperation, technology integration with human resources, and enterprise planning for required resources and support. Investments in CX to build customer relationships pay off and support financial growth when CCOs are supported, and there is ownership for CX across business units and departments.