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Data & culture gaps hinder a great customer experience: Report

For marketers, a great customer experience is the primary way for them to differentiate themselves from competitors in 2017. But a recent survey by Adobe & Econsultancy highlights that there are huge gaps in content, data and culture that need to be addressed by brands as they prevent an amazing customer experience.

While businesses investing in the right technology is crucial, businesses are also recognising the importance of a customer-oriented, agile and collaborative company culture, Adobe highlights in the survey. The survey findings show that over one-fifth (22 per cent) of client-side respondents ranked ‘optimising the customer experience’ as the single most exciting opportunity for the year ahead, slightly ahead of other areas such as ‘creating compelling content for digital experiences’ (16 per cent) and ‘data-driven marketing’ (12 per cent).

With the strong adoption and stickiness of mobile apps in APAC, it’s not surprising marketers have also prioritised mobile app engagement above their peers in North America and Europe, Adobe explains in a press note.

Recently, Facebook has also started to add e-commerce and service capabilities similar to the ones in apps such as WeChat. In some APAC countries, social apps are the preferred customer engagement channel – 31 per cent of APAC marketers are more likely to view social media engagement as a top priority compared with 28 per cent in North America and 27 per cent of European respondents, Adobe highlights.

However, there are huge gaps which currently prevent organisations from achieving that a great customer experience. The first gap is in data, the report found. Without data, organisations will struggle to better understand their customers. The customer data trail is what allows organisations to learn and optimise the customer experience. But analytics features further down marketers’ lists of priorities for 2017, a worrying trend that needs to be addressed, according to Adobe.

“This might suggest that we are witnessing some ‘head in the sand’ behaviour from marketers. While they aim to optimise the customer experience, they are not building their data capabilities fast enough to facilitate this. Separate research has indicated that marketers find manipulating and using outputs from customer data difficult. Even 59 per cent of respondents who would consider their ability to understand the customer journey as advanced or intermediate stated that they had difficulty unifying different data sources,” the report highlights.

The second roadblock according to the report is culture. It is imperative that an organisation is wholly aligned, both in terms of goals and ways of creating a great customer experience, across every department. The report explains that, “Aligning an entire organisation, hence, is also an exercise in cultural transformation. 34 per cent of respondents believed that this would be difficult to achieve – a gap which these organisations cannot afford to ignore if they want to see success in the customer experience era.”

However, 13 per cent of respondents believe that building a cross-team culture that keeps the customer at the heart of all initiatives was actually the easiest task of all. Companies that are smaller and nimbler and/or those born digital have the customer-centric approach embedded in their DNA, while more traditional organisations may struggle.

The third roadblock is processes (or the lack thereof), the report highlights. About 82 per cent of organisations value creativity highly and about 75 per cent are investing in design to differentiate their brand. However, about 40 per cent say they lack the processes to achieve a design advantage. About 36 per cent of respondents say well-designed user journeys that enable clear communication and a seamless transaction are difficult to master.

“Understanding data enables a company to refine its customer segments. This process requires additional creative content in real time to engage these new segments – what we call content velocity. This is where design-centric businesses with robust technology will outperform those that haven’t invested in the resources,” Adobe’s report concludes.

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