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Gartner: Top-performing companies understand CX

Those businesses that measure customer experience, either through surveys, real-time analytics or the use of artificial intelligence, are more profitable

Businesses that were profitable last year are using analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to understand how to improve customer experience (CX), according to Gartner. The analyst firm has reported that metrics collected on customer experience show it has a direct correlation with an organisation’s profits.

The analyst firm reported that companies seeing positive revenue growth collect more customer experience data than non-growth companies. A survey of 214 organisations found that nearly 80% of growth organisations use customer surveys to collect CX data, compared with just 58% of non-growth organisations.

“There is a clear trend among growing companies to actively collect CX data using a wide variety of tools such as surveys, usability testing, focus groups and real-time analytics,” said Jessica Ekholm, research vice-president at Gartner. “This is what we call the outside-in approach – the idea that customer value creation, customer orientation and CX will drive long-term business success.”

While the most popular method to collect customer metrics is through surveys, such data only provides product managers with a baseline understanding of the customer experience, Gartner warned.

The analyst firm said consumers were increasingly experiencing “survey fatigue”, with research showing declining response rates for each subsequent survey a customer receives. Further, survey responses are often written in haste or provide ambiguous information, lowering the quality of the data collected. Surveys are also unable to surface real-time information.

“Despite their widespread use, customer surveys have some flaws that limit their ability to collect quality CX data,” said Ekholm. “Recognising this, growth companies are beginning to use near-time or real-time analytics to complement or build upon the data collected from surveys.”

“Customer surveys have some flaws that limit their ability to collect quality customer experience data. Recognising this, growth companies are beginning to use near-time or real-time analytics to complement or build upon the data collected from surveys”
Jessica Ekholm, Gartner

Gartner found that 43% of product managers in the companies that demonstrated growth in 2018 to 2019 used real-time data and sentiment analysis to help them accelerate and deepen insights on customer experience. Just 22% of product managers in companies not experiencing growth used real-time analytics to improve their understanding of customers.

Gartner said artificial intelligence technologies could help organisations gather real-time data about customers’ current issues and experiences. This data could then be used to predict a customer’s next move, proactively recommending features, solutions or actions that improve the customer journey.

“Companies that leverage AI and near-time and real-time analytics applications to collect customer data will stand out as CX leaders in the next five to 10 years,” said Ekholm.

However, using AI to improve customer experience can be challenging, according to Gartner senior director analyst Brian Manusama.

In a recent Computer Weekly article, Manusama wrote: “While some advantages of AI adoption, such as revenue increases or time savings, are well-defined values, notions such as customer experience are difficult to quantify or define with precision.

“Any success of AI can only be determined by taking both tangible and intangible benefits into consideration. By 2024, 50% of AI investments will be quantified and linked to specific key performance indicators to measure return on investment.”

Read more about customer experience

  • Effective customer experience strategies have a big impact on business success. Hear what Carnival Corp, Ritual Cosmetics and Ashley Stewart have to say about CX.
  • Emotional analytics enable businesses to obtain customer feedback without words. Netflix employs this tactic as a means to engage and retain customers.

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