Better customer experience (CX) is critical to business success. At Forrester, we’ve analyzed the relationship between CX and business results and found that firms with better customer experience see:
• Faster revenue growth and higher margins: After analyzing the correlation between CX quality and revenue growth for companies in five industries, we found that companies with superior CX grew revenues five times faster, on average, than their competitors with inferior CX. Additionally, customers said they were willing to pay a higher price for products and services when their CX is superior. This was especially true for customers who rated an experience as outstanding.
• Lower costs: Frustrated customers contact companies to resolve their problems, running up those companies’ service costs. By improving CX, companies have been able to cut millions to hundreds of millions of dollars in waste. For example, Sprint’s effort to systematically track down and eliminate the problems that annoy customers most helped decrease the number of complaint calls, saving the carrier $1.7 billion per year.
Underpinning the ability to offer a top-notch CX has to do, in great part, the teams behind the strategy. As more firms staff up their CX teams, the battle for talent is increasing–but the talent pool isn’t keeping up with the demand. In fact, we’ve heard from CX hiring managers that it’s difficult to measure whether potential hires for their CX teams are truly qualified because there are no indicators for them to base their decisions on. That’s not surprising when you consider that there aren’t any college programs minting a steady stream of properly trained CX professionals.
What should great CX training look like? Firms should focus on:
• CX practitioners to boost CX teams’ effectiveness: To drive CX initiatives across the organization, all CX team members need to have a working knowledge of CX concepts. They also need core skills, such as customer research, journey mapping, design, CX measurement, and storytelling, and they need to embrace a customer-centric culture. All of this will help them articulate the importance of CX to the broader business, diagnose and improve CX problems, and train other parts of the organization.
• CX champions to provide guidance and set an example: CX champions are employees who extend the reach of CX teams by coaching colleagues, conducting training sessions, and setting the right examples in their daily work. CX teams should train champions on how to model customer-obsessed behavior in their parts of the organization and how to apply basic CX skills to diagnose and fix experience flaws.
• Executives, managers, and employees to rally the whole organization: Executives need to know what CX is, why it’s important to the company’s business objectives, and what they should personally do to lead the organization toward customer obsession. Managers need to understand what customer-obsessed behaviors look like in both their own roles and for their direct reports. Employees need to be able to connect the company’s brand and strategy with the intended experience vision and understand how customer experience connects to their roles.
Back in 2014, Forrester predicted that “university degree programs will increase the supply of early-career CX pros,” and that “vendor/university partnerships will support continuing education needs.” Four years later, we have to admit we were wrong: Neither prediction came to pass, which points to why we think firms still struggle to source CX talent. It’s also why Forrester decided to launch its own CX Certification.
Customer experience must be engrained across your organization for it to make an impact. The true test is whether your training and efforts make your organization more customer-centric.