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How Customer Experience Skill Drives Digital Business

Why are more organizations creating Chief Digital Officer (CDO) roles? Why are CMOs and CIOs more likely to collaborate on new digital transformation projects? Digital business growth is driven by the development and deployment of superior online experiences.

Three-quarters of the organizations surveyed by Gartner increased customer experience (CX) technology investments in 2018. Customer analytics continues to be one of the biggest investments, with 52 percent intending to increase funding in 2019, focusing on customer journey analysis, customer needs analysis, voice of the customer (VoC) and digital marketing.

Customer Experience Market Development

Gartner's 2019 survey gathered data from respondents in seven countries within North America, Western Europe and Asia-Pacific regions, across a wide range of industries. The objective of the study was to understand the priorities, technology investments and high-stakes situations faced by organizations in the planning of their CX initiatives.

The survey reveals that when organizations grow in CX maturity, a greater focus of technology investment is placed on increasing customer understanding and delivering accurate actions by analyzing data. Big data analytics can become essential components of a CX strategy.

Furthermore, CX programs often expand from a core team to a wider group of employees and business partners. The requirement for 'change management' makes employee training tools and associated vendor professional services the most important investment.

According to the survey, the top five CX project priorities in 2019 are metrics (64 percent); VoC (50 percent); increasing speed of product and service launches (45 percent); product proliferation and personalization (45 percent); prioritization of CX investments (44 percent); and customer journey automation (44 percent).

"Knowing where your strengths and challenges lie and the next steps needed to improve maturity will help with project prioritization and planning," said Olive Huang, research vice president at Gartner. "Also, extend your spending to different technologies as your CX maturity increases, paying particular attention to customer analytics investments."

According to the survey, the top three emerging technologies expected to have the biggest impact on CX projects in the next three years include artificial intelligence (53 percent), virtual customer assistants and chatbots (39 percent) and omnichannel engagement solutions (37 percent).

The survey reveals that many organizations have faced crisis situations in their CX program within the last three years. Economic or financial pressure has impacted the highest proportion of respondents (53 percent).

For those with lower maturity levels, 60 percent had CX initiative launches stalled due to lack of executive support, and 59 percent found it difficult to demonstrate value or ROI, which leads the CFO to question all future investments.

Outlook for Customer Experience Talent Demand

According to the Gartner assessment, high-stakes situations impacting CX programs can result in the removal of funding for a CX initiative or its cancellation, or even employees losing their jobs. This may lead to a decline in the quality of the customer experience, the weakened financial performance of an organization and erosion of its competitive position.

"Pay special attention to building recruitment, retention and succession plans for key technology leadership roles related to CX," Ms. Huang said. "Candidates for these roles are often hard to find and highly valued in the job market."

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