Good design is integral to delivering a great customer experience: customers expect websites that are intuitive, fast and a pleasure to browse. Yet a new report has revealed that almost half of brands feel they are lacking the design skills needed to deliver brilliant customer experiences.
Bridging the Experience Gap was created by CR’s sister brand Econsultancy in partnership with customer experience agency Zone and digital consultancy group Cognizant. The report looks at the findings of consumer and brand surveys and identifies six areas where brands need to improve in order to deliver a first-class customer experience.
One of the key findings was a lack of front-end design capabilities at consumer brands. Just 59% of marketers surveyed for the report agreed that they ‘have the front-end design capabilities to create brilliant customer experiences’ and only 53% said they can ‘prototype website enhancements in a collaborative environment’ – despite ranking experience design as the third most important factor in delivering a first-class experience.
Bridging the design gap
The report recommends that brands refine their front-end digital experience: “While there is more to the customer experience than effective digital engagement, the online experience increasingly defines how consumers view your brand, with frictionless interactions now seen as the norm. Companies need to invest in the front-end experience to give their brands a chance of success in the digital era. They must encourage a focus on experience design, cultivating those skills internally and calling on the right partners to help ensure they are delivering a world class digital experience that is aligned to the vision for your brand. Companies must also ensure they are making the necessary investment to ensure that the front-end experience is part of the bigger picture, rather than being developed in isolation,” it says.
Addressing strategy and culture
The report also identifies a need for improved technology, a more joined-up strategy and a culture that puts customer experience at the heart of the business. While 73% of marketers surveyed agreed that customer experience is integral to commercial success, just 52% said they ‘collaborate effectively across [their] organisation to deliver a joined-up customer experience’, and only 17% strongly agreed that their entire organisation is ‘united around overall customer experience goals’.
Around a quarter of companies surveyed identified legacy technology and infrastructure as the ‘most significant barrier to delivering better customer experiences’ and just 51% felt they had the tech capabilities to ‘produce brilliant customer experiences’.
Consumer v brand expectations
More than 1,200 consumers and over 1,000 marketers were surveyed for the report, which also compares consumers and marketers’ perceptions of the importance of different aspects of the customer experience and analyses how well brands are delivering against customer expectations.
This revealed some disconnects between marketers’ and consumers’ thinking, with consumers placing more importance than marketers on location-relevant information and responsiveness to online queries, and marketers placing greater importance on the speed of interactions. Of the marketers surveyed, just 5% rated the quality of their customer experience offering 10 out of 10, and just 6% rated their brand 10 out of 10 for consistency – suggesting that brands across the board believe there is room for improvement.
The CX 50
Our colleagues at Marketing Week have also put together a list of 50 leading customer experience professionals in partnership with Zone and Cognizant. You can view the list, which was compiled with help from CR, Design Week and Econsultancy, here.