Businesses are rapidly seeing that customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) can be crucial differentiators and key drivers of their performance. A study from NTT has said that CX remains a top C-suite priority, with 95% of organisations now having a named C-suite executive responsible for this business area while EX has risen in importance to become a top three priority for CEOs.
The IT infrastructure and services company’s 2023 Global customer experience report was based on research from spans 25 countries in five regions, interviewing 1,442 CX and EX decision-makers and influencers across a range of business roles, including IT security, digital, IT, operations and the C-suite. It covered 14 sectors, including retail and wholesale, financial services, healthcare, communications, manufacturing and technology.
The key finding was that in the past decade, in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and significant global macroeconomic developments, businesses across industries have intensified their efforts to deliver high-quality customer experience (CX). They were seen to be expanding their focus beyond the conventional CX parameters to enhance customers’ overall perception of their firm at every touchpoint, many of which are now digital.
NTT noted that great CX is proven to foster long-term customer trust and loyalty while having a measurable effect on the bottom line, so it has become a priority for C-suite executives and therefore garnered investment in technologies that support the organisation’s CX strategy at every touchpoint, in both the contact centre and the broader business.
In addition, it showed that once organisations want to strengthen their CX, they consider enhancements that include developing an employee experience (EX) strategy that incorporates technology and goes beyond staff wellbeing, moving to cloud-based CX and EX platforms, and deploying AI and machine learning.
Specifically, 92% of CEOs interviewed for the report agree that CX improvements will directly impact their net profit, with EX up 91%. This has elevated CX to board and C-suite level, with 95% of organisations now having a specific C-suite executive responsible for CX, up from 75% in 2021. Yet NTT cautioned that there was clear room for improvement, as over 80% of organisations agree that CX and EX are currently a weak link for them, leading to a negative impact on their business.
The data also revealed that that the top-performing organisations were almost twice as likely as others to be in an advanced state of digitisation. Cloud-based technologies and AI, automation and machine learning feature prominently in these top performers’ CX and EX strategies.
Looking at technology solutions that will reshape future CX capabilities, the survey found cloud technology topped the list ranked ahead of AI (in second place) and predictive analytics. The leading firms were already prioritising AI, whereas it remained part of a three-year plan for most other organisations.
Worryingly, only 60% of organisations regarded their CX strategy as fully aligned with their business strategy, and 44% report full alignment for their EX strategy, compared with 74% and 58% of top performers, respectively. Over two-thirds (69%) of CX interactions will still require some form of human support in the near future, re-emphasising the importance of EX in enabling employees with the right tools and knowledge no matter where they work.
Some 96% of organisations agreed, 45% strongly, that evolving work and employee engagement models are driving new technology demands. Top performers are nearly three times more likely than underperformers to fully involve their cyber security teams in CX and EX technology decisions.
Commenting on the research findings, Amit Dhingra, executive vice-president of managed network and collaboration services at NTT, said: “Over the past few years, we have witnessed an increasing link between CX and EX, and the need for them to be addressed through technology.
“Our data shows that companies that invest in technologies to improve CX and EX are significantly more likely to stay ahead of the curve, not just in financials but also in customer and employee satisfaction.”
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