Can you handle Dimension Data’s uncomfortable truth about customer experience?

Jack Nicholson, ''A Few Good Men'' 1992

Jack Nicholson, playing Colonel Jessup, in the 1992 film ‘A Few Good Men’, famously said, when cross-examined by Tom Cruise, playing Lieutenant (junior grade) Kaffee:

“You can’t handle the truth!”

Remember that?

Well, Dimension Data has just released its 2017 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report and this year’s report splendidly titled ‘Digital crisis or redemption – The uncomfortable truth’, will make uncomfortable reading for many leaders and executives.

Here are some highlights from the survey of 1,351 organizations across 80 different countries :

  • Whilst 71% of organizations cite customer experience as their top, strategic performance measure only 13% of them rate themselves a 9 or a 10 (out of 10) when it comes to delivery.
  • Moreover, with digital dominating much of the conversation around customer experience, it’s shocking to see that more than half of organizations (51%) report that they don’t have a digital strategy or they are, at best, only in the process of developing one.
  • Further, only 9.5% of respondents think that their digital business strategy is optimized and this leads to a disjointed experience for many of their customers. The result is that digital channels are failing to meet customers’ needs, and this is having an impact on organizations’ abilities to reduce costs and call volumes at the speed that they would like.
  • This is despite the fact that 81% of organizations responded that they consider customer experience a key competitive differentiator and that they see clear benefits from improving their customer experience in terms of increased customer loyalty, increases in revenue and cost savings.
  • But, increasing complexity is playing a role in this with organizations reporting that they are giving their customers, on average, a choice of nine different channels with which to engage with them. This number is forecast to rise to 11 channels by 2018.
  • However, despite the rise in the number of channels, only 8% of organizations say that they have all of their channels connected.
  • In fact, as many as 70% say that none or very few of their channels are connected, and 58% report that channels are still being managed in silos, with all of the data sharing and collaboration issues that come with that type of set up.

Whilst there are a huge number of additional insights in the report, fundamentally it does seem as though many firms are struggling from a lack of strategy and recurring issues of complexity, siloed operations and a lack of collaboration.

Andrew McNair, Head of Global Benchmarking at Dimension Data, summed the situation very well when he said:

“Establishing a channel presence is not a complete strategy in itself. Good strategy is about understanding what you want to accomplish, who your customers are, what your own operational and business goals are and, then, designing a plan around that. It’s not about having a scattergun approach. But, it seems that is the way that many organizations are operating right now. ”

So, yes, the report may make for uncomfortable reading for some.

But, with the number of channels set to continue to expand in the coming years, not addressing the lack of strategy could prove fatal for many.

As such, ignoring these findings is not an option.

 

 

 

This post was originally published on Forbes.com here.

 

 

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