Dimension Data has urged organisations to address a “customer experience disconnect” that could cost a loss in business, or create risk in competitive markets where consumer loyalty is critical.
According to Dimension Data findings, 67 per cent of Asia Pacific (APAC) respondents felt that customer experience is not represented at board level, with lower-level management or multiple managers often assuming responsibility.
Furthermore, only 21 per cent said their organisation takes a fully integrated, centralised approach to customer experience.
“Customer experience must be higher on the agenda for every business and the whole organisation should get behind it,” said Pranay Anand, solutions director for Customer Experience at Dimension Data Asia Pacific.
“Brands acknowledge how crucial customer experience is, yet so few are making it a board level responsibility, leaving it siloed or delegating it to individual managers. There is an artificial reality between organisations’ CX ambitions and making real change that benefits the customer.
"This disconnect must be resolved. Brands must make customer experience the priority they say it is."
However, the research also showed that most regional businesses recognise customer experience as an important competitive differentiator (91 per cent) that is also vital for driving loyalty (90 per cent), revenue growth (69 per cent), and cost reduction (52 per cent).
Despite this, however, the research revealed that nearly a quarter of respondents (20 per cent) are dissatisfied with their own customer experience services, and only 11 per cent believe they are delivering experiences that would lead customers to recommend them to others.
This is resulting in an ‘artificial reality’, where companies are talking about CX, but not delivering on it, creating a gap between their CX ambitions and actual CX capabilities.
Businesses are looking at several customer experience technologies, such as customer analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and digital integration, but are not currently able to implement them properly.
The research also revealed that many brands are turning to technology to improve customer experience, but often without a clear strategy.
“Technology is an enabler supporting and improving customer experience, but it is not simply a case of flicking a switch for it to work,” said Anand.
“Claiming that the technology does not provide the required functionalities or that customers are unaware of it, is a result of failed planning and communication not failed technology. Brands need to invest in technology, people, processes, and planning."
As reflected in the results, 37 per cent of businesses in APAC said the digital solutions they have rolled out (such as chatbots and AI) do not provide the functionality their customers need, while around 64 per cent of respondents said customer awareness of such technologies is the biggest barrier to adoption.
“Customer experience benchmarking is more important than ever,” added Nancy Jamison, principal analyst for Customer Care at Frost & Sullivan. “Brands need to invest in customer experience but they also need to know that those investments are paying off.
“And if they are not, they need to know what to change. Right now, it looks like brands are not putting the right kind of focus on customer experience and, as a result, they are not seeing the outcomes they want. That is bad for them, and their customers."