Gerry Brown (CX Research Director)

Many enterprises talk about the importance of Customer Experience (CX) but flounder in execution. This is because CX is too wide-ranging a concept and is intangible in nature. Customer Success is different. Customer Success is a tangible CX use case that can be accurately defined, managed and measured. As the world pivots from product-based value propositions to digital subscription-based business models, Customer Success as a strategy assumes massive importance to ensure customer loyalty and retention.

The 2020 pandemic ‘found out’ the limitations of enterprise CX systems. Most enterprises have a ‘patchwork quilt’ of CX technology purchases driven by piecemeal opportunism. These proved not to be resilient in the moment of severe customer need.

Nothing works. Ring a large enterprise and wait in an hour-long queue with no indication of your queue position. Look for an email alternative and find that many enterprises have removed the email channel option. Chatbots often only work for the simplest of enquiries, and often won’t pass you over to a human operator when requested. Home deliveries schedules are at best ‘unpredictable’ from a customer perspective. Nightmare. And this within the backdrop of us all being bombarded with Black Friday and Xmas deals from the same suppliers.

What Technology Business Leaders think about CX

But there is a silver lining. Enterprises are showing renewed vigor to get CX right. In fact, IDC research shows that in the short, medium and long term CX has dramatically moved to the top of enterprise technology agenda (along with ‘business resilience’). And 77% of enterprise decision makers now perceive that investment in CX technology is ‘essential’ to improving CX. But with a twist. Senior technology executives also appreciate that CX technology alone is not a complete solution.

At a recent IDC workshop, senior technology executives told us “there’s nothing wrong with the CX technology – the biggest problems are siloes and data integration”. OK. But now it gets interesting. The executives then told us the enterprise approach to CX transformation is often too short term and fragmented. In addition, CX technology is seen as a panacea when the real challenge is to “get the right mix of humans and machines – you can’t automate real empathy” in the view of our executives.

A 3-Step Action Plan

So, what to do? Our executives were clear:

  1. Make life simpler and easier for customers – start with this end goal and work backwards to technology choices.
  2. Train and educate your staff – how to make the most of the amazing CX technology you have.
  3. Deliver ‘speed to serve’ – the future customer is impatient and demanding and requires real-time responsiveness that could be enabled by new CX augmented technologies such as AI and voice analytics.

Prioritise Customer Success

In IDC’s opinion, 2021 will see an increasing enterprise focus on ‘customer success’. Customer retention as a strategy is not enough. Customer success is a tangible and measurable end-use case of the intangible slippery concept that is CX.

In 2021 watch out for research-driven insights from IDC on how to organise, manage and measure customer success to truly transform the experience of your most valuable customers – and turn them into delighted referenceable case studies and willing advocates of your products and services.

If you want to learn more about CX or have any questions, please contact Gerry Brown or head over to https://uk.idc.com and drop your details in the form on the top right. Merry Christmas.

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