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New CX Research from Forrester, Sprinklr, WSO2, Lilt, and NICE

Topics Include US CX Index, Customer Care in Social Media, Consumer Digital Experiences, Multilingual Touchpoints, and Self-Service Options

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In this roundup of new research, the reports all zero in on the one indispensable component of CX—the customer—whose experience is measured to give rise to Forrester’s US CX Index ranking, and is the object of inquiry in Sprinklr’s benchmark study of customer care in social media. For WSO2, the digital experience of the customer fuels concern among IT decision-makers, while the lack of fully multilingual customer touchpoints troubles the folks at Lilt. Finally, the gulf between companies and consumers in their perception of what self-service signifies makes for a lively and provocative discussion. Details follow. 

Forrester: US CX Index Among Brands Falls Nearly 20% This Year

A lack of focus on customers has caused CX quality from brands to fall 19% in 2022 compared to last year, with CX quality dropping back to early 2020 levels and reversing gains made in 2021, according to the report US Customer Experience Index Rankings, 2022, from research and advisory company Forrester.

The Forrester CX Index is designed to measure the quality of customer experiences, assess customer loyalty, determine the drivers that have the biggest influence on customers’ perceptions of CX quality, and provide a CX benchmark, according to the company’s website page explaining the CX Index rationale and methodology.

Industries this year that suffered losses in their average CX Index scores included airlines, auto manufacturers, and hotels, their drop in rating brought on, in part, by environmental factors like rising costs, supply issues, and staffing shortages. The only field to see CX improvement in 2022 is the investment industry, the report notes. Meanwhile, the elite brands—the top 5% of brands in the entire CX Index—enjoyed a 15-point advantage over other brands in providing emotionally positive experiences for customers. Elite brands include pet food retailer Chewy.com; financial institutions or services firms Navy Federal Credit Union, the USAA, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, and Edward Jones; e-commerce marketplace Etsy; and grocery chains HEB and Trader Joe’s.

Emotion continues to be a key driver in delivering high levels of CX performance. Among customers, 54% who report positive emotions like feeling happy, valued, and appreciated, are willing to forgive brands that make mistakes. Moreover, the quality of brand interactions is integral to building customer trust. This year, an average of 59% of customers trust the brands with which they interact, 2 percentage points higher than in 2020, the report notes.

Sprinklr: New Report Provides Guidelines on Social Media Customer Care

A four-pronged strategy will help companies achieve success in social customer care, states a new report from Sprinklr, the New York City-based provider of a unified CX management platform for the enterprise. Organizations should post regularly on both social and traditional media, increase their engagement with customers, provide rapid and round-the-clock responsiveness, and focus on responding to addressable public messages, the report says.

Analyzing 2 billion public messages and 27 billion engagements from more than 13,000 brands, The Sprinklr Social Customer Care Benchmarking Report provides a data-based measurement of how well companies manage social customer care. Providing the data were brands from six industries, including entertainment and media, financial services, food and beverage, health and pharma, retail, and technology. 

Posting regularly shows a company is available, while boosting engagement can enable a strong foundation for customer care, the report says. In recommending that companies provide 24/7 fast care, the report notes that top entertainment and media brands take less than 45 minutes to respond to customer inquiries on social media, while leading financial services brands respond in two hours or less. And rather than sifting through “masses of mentions”—ostensibly for plaudits or self-promotion—companies will do better with customers in social media by responding to high-priority addressable messages, the report adds.

When companies create a unified customer care strategy, customer happiness goes up while cost goes down, Sprinklr executives say, citing the report. 

WSO2: IT Decision-Makers See Urgent Shift in Focus to Consumers’ Digital Experiences

A hefty 85% of IT decision-makers agree that a shift is urgently needed for companies to focus on improving the digital experiences of consumers, indicates a new report from WSO2, the middleware vendor of open-source application programming interface (API) management software based in the South Asian country of Sri Lanka.

The report, Reprogramming the Enterprise: Keeping Pace with the Wave of Innovation, reveals a disconnect, however, between top decision-makers who often believe their organization understands its customers’ digital experiences extremely well; compared to lower-level leaders and managers responsible for day-to-day tasks who believe otherwise.

A vast majority of IT executives also agree that four factors are key to driving better digital experiences and to gaining or maintaining a competitive advantage. The four factors are improved security (90%), cloud adoption (89%), API integration (82%), and total data control (81%).

Overall, the push to accelerate innovation is putting additional pressure on enterprises already facing a shortage of software developers, the report notes. More than half (54%) of respondents say that the shortage of developers has delayed projects and reduced productivity, while 48% report that it has slowed the pace of innovation.

“For the majority of survey respondents, the ability to rapidly deliver innovative digital experiences is becoming a critical factor in their ability to compete,” says Eric Newcomer, WSO2 chief technology officer. “Cloud-native benefits, such as scale, resilience and agility, are integral to the experience, but not easy to achieve. Automating deployment is also essential, but adds a complexity of its own. Developers, especially those with these skills, are in short supply, and need better tools to compete and succeed.”

Lilt: Few Companies Offer Fully Multilingual Customer Touchpoints

A new report paints the picture of a fragmented global experience (GX) for a majority of the world’s customers, with only 12% of companies offering fully multilingual digital customer touchpoints. The State of Global Experience in 2022 report is from San Francisco-based Lilt, the provider of a global GX platform that enables organizations to build and deliver multilingual experiences.

Various disparities in the GX market are noted in the research. While nearly 90% of respondents consider GX to be a priority in the target markets where their company operates, 40% do not believe their company is effectively managing the GX aspect. And despite more than two-thirds of respondents reporting that their company understands the importance of personalization throughout the customer journey, 62% note that their company does not have alignment on GX strategies, and 65% do not have cohesive messaging across locales and markets.

As the world continues to transition to digital, language is becoming an increasingly important part of how customers engage and communicate. Companies have begun to understand the value of language in CX, with 95% of respondents believing that language of choice plays an important role throughout the customer journey.

For companies to elevate their global customer journeys and provide more localized experiences, they will not only have to grow their content volumes, but also ensure that GX is woven into cross-functional company strategy, the report points out.

NICE: Large Gaps Exist in Perception of Self-Service Options

Significant gaps exist between company and consumer perceptions of current digital- and self-service channels, according to a new report from Israeli-based CX platform provider NICE. At least 81% of consumers say they want more self-service options, yet only 15% express a high level of satisfaction with the tools provided to them today. Meanwhile, businesses believe 53% of consumers to be very satisfied with self-service, even with 95% of companies reporting a major increase in self-service requests in 2021, indicating a rapid growth in consumer demand for greater speed and convenience.

Drawing from 1,320 US and UK respondents, the 2022 Digital-First Customer Experience Report from NICE aims to reveal potential blind spots among service providers and to help them improve their digital and self-service options. Case in point: 36% of consumers say they would like to see companies make their self-service smarter, but less than 11% of businesses are making that a priority.

The report also reveals that 95% of consumers place great importance on customer service, which in turn impacts brand loyalty. Online self-service and easy access to their preferred channels are two of the top customer service factors in a customer’s brand loyalty. The majority of consumers (57%) surveyed said they would abandon a brand after one or two negative digital customer service interactions, yet most businesses tend to underestimate how quickly that could happen.

Still, the report shows that companies recognize the importance of current digital channels to consumers, and are attempting to improve their availability. In 2022, the top digital channels companies are planning to expand significantly are chat (47%), website access (44%), and search options (42%).

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