Improving customer experience will be a top priority for companies in 2016

Rebecca Gibson
Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson on 28 October 2015
Improving customer experience will be a top priority for companies in 2016

Improving the overall customer experience is a top business priority for companies and the main driver behind their digital transformation goals for 2016, according to a new Accenture study.

Accenture’s Digital Transformation in the Age of the Customer indicated that ‘improving the customer experience’ received 21% of number one rankings on a list of business priorities. ‘Growing revenues’ and ‘improving differentiation’ followed with 17% and 16% respectively.

In addition, improving customer satisfaction was cited as one of the top three motivations for digital transformation, along with ‘increasing profitability’ and ‘accelerating speed to market’. While only 39% of companies want to improve their in-store experience, 63% of companies plan to enhance their online experience and 46% want to add or improve mobile offerings.

“Customer experience is now clearly at the heart of digital transformation, and digital is at the centre of that customer experience,” said Anatoly Roytman, managing director at Accenture Interactive and global digital commerce lead. “But many companies have considerable ground to cover on their path to becoming digital enterprises.”

However, the report showed that there were three main issues hampering organisation’s transformation into customer-focused digital enterprises. These include confusion over which senior executives should set and manage the company’s digital vision and strategy, getting the right people in place to execute the strategy, and developing metrics to measure digital success. Currently, only 5% of respondents think their organisation is exceeding their customers’ expectations in digital experiences, while 73% believe they meet those expectations.

“Look at how fast consumer behaviour is changing and how great customer experiences are jumping industry boundaries,” said Jay Dettling, managing director of Accenture Interactive and North America digital commerce lead. “Companies need to ask themselves how long customers will accept experiences that are just ‘good enough’.”

To achieve differentiation through digital customer experiences, Accenture recommends that executives from different areas of a company team up to ensure digital transformation is company-wide. The executives should also advocate digital transformation and customer experience with clear goals to ensure that all changes to culture, processes and technology ultimately support the digital vision and are not made in isolation.

In addition, companies should consider using third parties to make it cheaper and faster for them to implement and execute their digital strategy. Currently 45% of the respondents work with providers to enahce the customer experience.

“Operationalising digital transformation, developing digital visions and strategies, and executing the required organisational change are inhibitors to achieving superior customer experience,” said Roytman. “Only a few organisations have the capabilities to master customer-focused digital transformation by themselves efficiently and at pace. Our findings show that nearly 90% use third-party providers for at least one component of their digital transformation. With their capabilities, providers help plug the gaps and manage the drive for transformation.”

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