Divisions between IT and business could impact customer experience

Study highlights lack of investment in areas most likely to have a positive CX impact.

Organizations must tear down the walls between IT and the business and make more customer-centric investments if they are to improve customer experience (CX), according to new research from Pegasystems Inc.. Pega’s 2020 Global Customer Experience Study was conducted among decision makers spanning 12 countries and seven different industries by research firm Savanta.

The study highlighted four key pain points businesses must address if they are to provide a better, more personalized customer experience, successfully differentiate themselves from the competition, and improve customer satisfaction and loyalty:

  • Walls between IT and the business are causing CX confusion: The research revealed thatIT is twice as likely to lead CX business initiatives than any other group. Twenty-six percent of CX projects are currently led by IT, 13% by dedicated CX functions, 12% by general management, 11% by marketing, and just 7% by retention and loyalty specialists. While IT is critical to supporting these projects, problems can arise when they are forced to make business decisions that require those in other departments – many of whom are measured by a different set of metrics – to buy in and adopt a new approach, or a new technology solution. It’s a key reason why 81% of respondents cited ‘people issues’, including a lack of skills, sponsorship, adoption, and org structure among their top four CX challenges.
  • Where are all the C-level sponsors? Only 35% of businesses have a C-level sponsor for CX initiatives, and in 36% of companies these projects are led at director level or below. This can result in a lack of expertise, leadership, and awareness in the initiatives themselves and can also cause those working on them to question the organization’s commitment to CX. By contrast, the involvement of C-level sponsors can in itself break down the walls between IT and the business and accelerate change.
  • Lack of investment in the most relevant channels: Sixty-eight percent of companies say their channel focus is determined by the needs of their customers, but their actions say otherwise. Respondents named email (43%) and digital ads (42%) as their top two channel investments for next year – both of which are considered to be channels with increasingly lower customer response rates. By contrast, only 28% said they were planning to invest in chatbots, and 26% planned to invest in inbound contact centers, suggesting a focus on prioritizing short-term outbound gains instead of focusing on the inbound channels customer most typically want to use to communicate.
  • Reliance on outdated analytics: While analytics software evolves at lightning speed, the study found too many outdated and less effective analytics solutions still in use. For example, one quarter or more still rely on customer journey mapping (27%) or micro-segmentation (25%), while nearly one in five (19%) still perform arduous A/B testing. Even more telling is that use of customer-centric analytics that can really jumpstart CX, such as propensity modeling (37%), customer lifetime value projection (34%), or performance simulation (33%), are still far from prevalent.
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