The Loyalty Guide: Why most CX initiatives fail

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By: RickFerguson |

Posted on May 19, 2016

Through June 30, Wise Marketer subscribers can take advantage of a special discount offer: Purchase the Loyalty Guide 7 at just US $900 - that's a 56% savings off the $1,600 retail price! In this excerpt from the LOYALTY GUIDE 7, published by the Wise Marketer Group, we review some of the key reasons why Customer Experience (CX) initiatives fail. The key reasons: one, organisational initiatives that are often misaligned with customer expectations; and two, organisations often lack the insight to undertake meaningful CX initiatives.

Despite there being a strong correlation between customer experience management (CEM) and increased profits, a significant 81% of organisations have seen their CEM initiatives fail over the past three years, according to a May 2014 study by business collaboration solutions firm Avaya []. The study examined the emphasis that companies are currently putting on CEM and found that increasingly high expectations are creating a business environment where the majority of organisations are struggling to keep up. While CEM programmes are being undertaken on a global scale by businesses of all sizes, the survey found that China leads the pack with 84% of businesses having a CEM solution followed by the US (73%), India (72%) and Brazil (63%).

CEM activities are strongly tied to business success and growth trajectories. The study found a solid correlation between a strong CEM programme and increased profits. Some 81% of those that have seen a significant increase in profits have a CEM programme in place, compared to those that have seen profits remain static (46%) or suffered a decrease in profits (35%).

Companies with a CEM strategy also tend to see the biggest improvements in customer satisfaction, loyalty, retention and repeat purchasing, which the survey indicated is largely attributed to the fact that 88% of customers would rather spend their money with companies that make purchases easy.

Despite the fact that 95% of business managers say CEM will be important to their organisation in the near term, only 59% of those surveyed actually had a comprehensive plan in place. And, even with a plan in place, there is no guarantee that a CEM approach will produce results, considering that 83% of companies can only deliver some of the elements of a personalised customer experience automatically and in real time.

While 81% of organisations reporting seeing their CEM initiatives fail in the past three years, 43% of managing directors, CEOs and business owners believe the top reason for CEM failure is "project misalignment with customer preferences", indicating communication barriers within organisations themselves.

Another possible explanation is that companies do not typically think of internal functions like finance, R&D, IT and operations as dealing with customers. This could be a blind spot in the way they approach and plan CEM initiatives, given that people across all departments within the company have direct or indirect contact with customers and prospects and not just the roles typically seen as customer facing.

Today's multichannel/multidisciplinary way of working with customers requires strong support from enabling technology. Of companies without a CEM programme, 31% blame its absence on a lack of appropriate technology in place - a figure that rises to 35% of multichannel companies.

Customer Experiences hampered by poor insights
Customer experience optimization is becoming an increasingly critical discipline as organisations enter a new era of marketing, according to research published by Econsultancy [] and omnichannel data management firm Ensighten. The study found that 96% of companies deem customer experience optimization as "important", and more than two out of five companies (41%) say that this is now a "high priority" for their organisation.

With brands fighting for the attention of the always-on consumer, organisations are now keen to optimize customer experiences, as 94% believe doing so will result in higher engagement and conversion rates. Furthermore, 66% also cite better brand perception as part of the resulting upside.

"We have entered a new era of marketing, with data and marketing technology now affording unprecedented opportunities for developing a more customer-centric approach," said Bola Awoniyi, Research Analyst for Econsultancy. "Focusing on developing customer experiences can create a more loyal and engaged customer base which is an extremely valuable competitive advantage in today's fast-paced commercial environment."

However, the majority of marketers are not yet positioned to deliver the most relevant and personalised experiences, according to this research.

Standing in the way of these benefits are the vast and complex datasets businesses need to manage and use in real time and at scale.

Nearly two-thirds (62%) often feel overwhelmed by the volume of incoming data, and a staggering 85% are unable to extract the full value from the data sources they have access to. Just 3% of businesses claim they have a strong capability when it comes to using cross-channel or cross-device data for either real-time website or mobile app personalisation.

"Marketing organisations continue to struggle with large data and technology silos, as well as with shortage of talent to overcome them," said Boaz Ronkin, SVP of Product for Ensighten. "So CMOs will need to look for integrated solutions that can join disparate systems rather than adding more standalone systems into the mix."

The Loyalty Guide, long regarded as the "bible" of the customer loyalty industry, explains every aspect of loyalty programmes, best practices, concepts, models and innovations, all backed up with case studies, original research, illustrations, charts, graphs, tables, and presentation material. Learn the principles, practicalities, metrics, analysis, and bottom-line effects of loyalty, and gain the expert guidance of dozens of loyalty and relationship marketing thought-leaders, worldwide.

Now in its 7th addition, the Loyalty Guide shows you exactly how to use customer data to increase profits, reduce churn, and increase frequency, spend, and share of wallet. See how and why others have already succeeded, what works, and - more importantly - what doesn't work.

Through June 30, Wise Marketer subscribers can take advantage of a special discount offer: Purchase the Loyalty Guide 7 at just US $900 - that's a 56% savings off the $1,600 retail price!

The report's full executive summary, table of contents, downloadable samplers, and pricing/ordering are all available online - click here.

Copyright 2016 Customer Strategy Network / The Loyalty Guide / The Wise Marketer

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