Few organizations consider themselves as leaders in CX

But research by Medallia and Ipsos finds customer experience investment may be on the rise.

Even before the pandemic, a strong customer experience (CX) was table stakes for brands. But it has only grown in importance since then, and new research from Medallia and Ipsos finds only a small portion of organizations feel equipped to handle those demands.

The State of Experience in Canada 2021 report, released last week, is based on a July survey of more than 2,000 consumers and 300 CX executives across 12 industries. Among its many findings is that there’s a large gap between consumer expectations and the level of CX that businesses feel they are capable of delivering.

On the whole, Canadian companies performed highly on customer satisfaction, with 70% of consumer respondents saying they were “extremely satisfied” with their most recent interactions with companies, according to the report.

This is good news for brands, notes Medallia, as strong CX has become an expectation. While 41% of consumers surveyed said a poor experience would be enough to drive them to purchase from another brand, only 16% are willing to pay more for it.

And customer service is the driving force behind a good overall experience, with 74.8% of consumers identifying it as the most important factor, far ahead of products/services (12.2%), price/cost (7.2%), corporate reputation (4.9%) and other factors.

While younger customers expressed wanting a better client understanding, older customers said faster services and lower fees would improve CX in their eyes. And, across the board, personalization remains an important purchase consideration: one-third of respondents said they would be more likely to make a purchase when the experience is personalized.

But in spite of the role experience plays today, only 11% of organizations consider themselves “CX leaders,” according to the research, meaning they identify as being “CX obsessed,” fostering a “customer and journey-centric culture,” and using analytics to constantly improve the customer experience.

What’s more, only 30% of executives said they use real-time data to identify, resolve and prevent customer issues, and only 20% strongly agree they currently use omnichannel strategy to improve customer experience.

There are nevertheless encouraging signs that CX investment may be on the rise.

Of those surveyed, 44% of execs reported seeing an increase in organizational focus around customer experience since the pandemic began. And over the next year, the majority of them said their number one priority will be to deliver a more elevated and personalized experience.

Likewise, the majority of leaders expect their CX budgets to grow over the next twelve months, “creating an opportunity for increased investment in training and tools to measure performance and gain deeper customer insights.”

As such, 35% of executive respondents expect to see their CX performance indicators, such as their Net Promoter Score and overall satisfaction score, to improve over the same time frame.