Mind the gap between CX maturity and AI says new research
The results of a new study conducted by Forrester Consulting designed to help customer experience (CX) decision makers evaluate their current state, identify gaps and define a strategy for optimisation reveal key CX gaps
The study commissioned by vendor LogMeIn, Short-Term Wins and Continuous Optimisation: The Roadmap To Customer Engagement Success, surveyed 463 global CX decision makers and found that the customer engagement maturity (CEM) gap continues to widen as more channels emerge and that organisations must look to establish a foothold with artificial intelligence (AI) to accelerate their CX maturity in turn.
“Customer expectations continue to evolve, and so too must customer engagement practices to meet key CX and business goals. As companies improve technology and strategy, they must shift priorities to best serve and retain customers, as well as grow revenues,” according to the study. The study, which identifies four maturity groups – Experimenters (least mature),
Evolutionists, Enthusiasts and Experts (most mature) – showed the decision makers made significant year-over-year improvements at their firms in both their customer engagement metrics and their mobile strategies. That said, most respondents at all maturity levels are either not using AI at all or are in the nascent stages of AI development putting all companies on roughly even footing. That means for Experimenters to Experts alike, getting a few pilot programs running to build the business case for investment and showcase the value of customer engagement will be a critical next step to keep pace in the AI race.
Focusing on Execution
The Forrester CEM model establishes five pillars of engagement for investigation and analysis: process, organisation, strategy, technology and AI. Experimenters have made impressive headway catching up to their more mature peers in strategy over the past year. Now, firms need to turn their attention to the actual execution – process and organisational set up. In fact, for all but “Experts”, organisation and process scores lag behind strategy and technology, meaning that businesses have a plan in place and, in many cases, the tools to activate upon it, but not the internal systems to do so. Being execution focused is a clear next step to improve customer engagement maturity.
Making Foundational Self-Service Improvement a Top Priority
Improving self-service capabilities is a top technology priority for respondents across all maturity levels. According to the study, 68 percent of respondents have self-service options based on text analysis and capable of agent escalation, with year-over-year growth in this area mainly driven by lower-maturity companies. Driving industry-wide maturity requires overcoming the mindset that “self-service” automatically means only using chatbots. In reality, improving self-service can start as simply by going beyond FAQs with foundational knowledgebases for both agents and customers. These types of initiatives enable customers to solve their own problems and will form the foundation for later self-service AI implementations.
Adopting a Continual Optimisation Mindset
Modernising — or transforming — customer engagement is a slow and steady journey that must be approached in a methodical manner that is dependent on organisational needs. Those Experimenters that are early in their CX journey, for example, see technology and process improvements as top priorities. Meanwhile, Evolutionists and Enthusiasts that are further along are focused on strategy and technology, and the most advanced, Experts, concentrate their efforts on technology and organisation. Incremental benefits are realised at each of these steps which fuels ongoing initiatives, and a methodical approach of consistent optimisation and growth propels organisations along their CEM journey from Experimenter to Expert.
“In a changing landscape of customer expectations and preferences, companies must be agile when it comes to their customer engagement strategy. However, what and how to evolve can be a roadblock that leaves companies stuck and customers disappointed,” said Ryan Lester, Senior Director of Customer Experience Technologies at LogMeIn. “This study in combination with our Customer Engagement Maturity Assessment Tool helps businesses understand where they stack up when it comes to CX and helps identify where they can improve.”