Seventy-five percent of organisations surveyed by Gartner increased their customer experience (CX) technology investments in 2018. For 2019, 52% of respondents said they will increase investment into customer analytics, as the focus on customer journey analysis, customer needs analysis, voice of the customer (VoC) and digital marketing.
The survey lists the top five CX project priorities in 2019 as metrics (64%); VoC (50%); increasing speed of product and service launches (45%); product proliferation and personalization (45%); prioritization of CX investments (44%); and customer journey automation (44%).
The survey reveals that when organisations grow in CX maturity, a greater focus of technology investment is placed on increasing customer understanding and delivering accurate actions by analysing data. At the same time, CX programmes expand from a core team to a wider group of employees. The requirement for change management makes employee training tools an important technology investment.
Olive Huang, research vice president at Gartner, said: “Knowing where your strengths and challenges lie and the next steps needed to improve maturity will help with project prioritization and planning. Also, extend your spending to different technologies as your CX maturity increases, paying particular attention to customer analytics investments.”
The top three emerging technologies expected to have the biggest impact on CX projects in the next three years include artificial intelligence (53%), virtual customer assistants and chatbots (39%) and omnichannel engagement solutions (37%).
The survey reveals that many organisations have faced crisis situations in their CX programme within the last three years. Economic or financial pressure has impacted the highest proportion of respondents (53%).
For those with lower maturity levels, 60% had CX initiative launches stalled due to lack of executive support, and 59% found it difficult to demonstrate value or ROI, which leads the CFO to question all future investments.
“High-stakes situations impacting CX programmes can result in the removal of funding for a CX initiative or its cancellation, or even employees losing their jobs. This may lead to a decline in the quality of the customer experience, weakened financial performance of the organisation and erosion of its competitive position,” Huang said
She suggests avoiding these situations or reduce their impact, from securing management buy-in to improving technologies that support change management programmes, such as employee training tools.
“Pay special attention to building recruitment, retention and succession plans for key technology leadership roles related to CX. Candidates for these roles are often hard to find and highly valued in the job market,” Huang concluded.