Gartner Customer Experience Summit: Five Key Takeaways

Thinking time. Everyone needs it for perspective. Attending industry events like the Gartner Customer Experience and Technologies summit hit the spot.

As for takeaways, we’ve summarised some research figures worthy of note. Here are the top five, hopefully, this sparks some further thoughts to reflect on your own journey to improving customer experience.

1.   80% of firms will try to compete on Customer Experience (CX) by 2020 but only 50% will fully understand how customers feel, what they value & need.

Takeaway: Over 100+ metrics to measure Customer Experience including NPS and overall customer satisfaction. Ed Thompson distinguished Analyst at Gartner session ‘How to Measure the CX’ highlighted the value of emotion as a key metric used by CX leaders. He specifically called out Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotion as a framework as a new approach for measuring overall customer experience.

2.  Key departments with responsibility for CX are marketing (53%), sales (49%), and customer service (53%).

Takeaway: Whilst we see a rise in the Chief Customer Officer (CCO), with Adoreboard’s research putting this increase in Fortune 100 companies by 20% in the last 3 years.  Increasingly, brand experience is being co-created by CCO and CMO or as we like to jest the Chief ‘More’ Officer given the ever-expanding portfolio of marketing activities which now includes retention and loyalty and customer analytics.

3. Gartner says key CX priorities for 2018 are: collecting & analyzing customer feedback (57%) as well as implementing and measuring CX metrics (53%)

Takeaway: These priorities are interlinked. To achieve both, customer experience specialists will need to have a data strategy to identify and collect both structured and unstructured data from each of the customer touch points. By mapping multiple data sources, you can help create a 360 view of the customer. The creation of a framework needs to create consistency of measurement across these touchpoints.  Ed Thompson suggestion of a framework of Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotion would provide a consistent measure of emotion. Emotion can then be correlated to structured data such as NPS or CSAT to link drivers and take action.

4. AI = Almost Intelligent.

Takeaway: The promise of AI having a transformational impact on CX is widely acknowledged. An important distinction during a discussion on AI is around conversational AI – how can machines interact with humans. Machine learning is already delivering for CX particularly in customer analytics. And algorithms such as neural networks have been around from the 1980’s. How does AI improve CX? – my own thoughts are there is much more thinking to be done here. Take conversational AI (agents or bots), Gartner say that 68% having no plans or will implement in the next 3 years. Our own research at Adoreboard, asked 1,000 millennials in the UK as to whether they’d prefer a human or a chatbot to assist. Results revealed 76% prefered human versus 12% chatbot. Gartner indicates that by 2020, 40% of the bot/virtual assistant applications launched this year will have been abandoned. A key question that should be asked is who does AI serve – does it enhance the life of customer or they simply a business efficiency?

5. Getting to CX:

Gartner indicates that in the last year Customer Analytics overtook Voice of Customer by 14% as the critical technology to invest in for CX projects. This gap is going to widen in 2018 to 20%. Understanding why and how customers feel can provide a powerful insight. This reflects Gartner’s view of the key priorities with 57% saying that they’ll prioritize collection and feedback from customers and employees. Plus 53% will implement and measure customer experience metrics.

Takeaway: I believe we’re at the start of the evolution of customer experience. Are we moving towards the combination of customer, employee and product experience? My own opinion is yes. CX is THE brand experience. Both brand strategy and customer experience are one side of the same coin. Consumers are recipients of CX and funny enough the name they have for that is the brand name be it Amazon, Dyson or American Airlines.

So what does all this mean for you the CX professional just bamboozled by stats?

customer experience

This leads me to my overall point, here are three steps to turn thinking into doing:

1. Unify the experience

Each brand will have different touchpoints meaning that there isn’t a one size fits all approach. Map all the touchpoints and understand what data points are available – both structured (like CRM data points like subscribes or click-through rates) and unstructured (such as NPS verbatim).

2. Measure what matters

here’s my view, 80% of customer decisions are driven by emotion. It’s common sense that it should be an equalizer for how you should prioritize and respond to consumers. So emotion can provide a consistent thread from which you can measure customer feedback and link these to the more structured business metrics. Innovators will look to build measurement frameworks which place emotion as the central driver. As a side note sentiment analysis is redundant, it shouldn’t be used in your CX programmes if you are trying to capture customer emotion.

3. Decision-ready insights

Linking emotional intensity to themes and the evidence of these will help you prioritize the quick fixes and projects that will drive customer experience. The outcome of CX programmes is predefined as it’s specific to your business goals and context. I’ve seen first-hand the role of design thinking for customer experience design in helping CX professionals allow to test a hypothesis. These solutions should be framed by decision-ready insights – the outcomes generated from measuring customer emotion.

If you’re interested in learning more about Customer Experience, Adoreboard in collaboration with OnePulse are hosting a webinar discussing the changing landscape of retail customer experience in the age of millennials. Featuring new research surveying millennials on their specific experience with the top 10 fashion retailers in the UK. 

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