Three-quarters of organisations globally increased their investments in customer experience (CX) technology last year, according to a survey by market research firm Gartner.
Customer analytics continued to be one of the biggest priorities, with 52% of the respondents intending to boost investments in this area in 2019, focusing on customer journey analysis, customer needs analysis, voice of the customer (VoC) and digital marketing.
Gartner collected data from 244 respondents in seven countries in North America, Western Europe and Asia/Pacific across a wide range of industries. The aim was to understand the priorities, technology investments, and high-stakes situations faced by organisations with regard to their CX initiatives.
“Knowing where your strengths and challenges lie and the next steps needed to improve maturity will help with project prioritisation and planning,” said Olive Huang, research vice president at Gartner.
The top three emerging technologies expected to have the biggest impact on CX projects in the next three years include artificial intelligence (53%), virtual customer assistance and chatbots (39%) and omnichannel engagement solutions (37%).
According to Gartner, the top five CX project priorities in 2019 are metrics (64%), VoC (50%), increasing speed of product and service launches (45%), product proliferation and personalisation (45%), prioritisation of CX investments (44%), and customer journey automation (44%).
Huang said that high-stakes situations impacting CX programs can result in the suspension 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, weakened financial performance of the organisation and erosion of its competitive position.
The survey revealed that many organisations have faced crisis situations in their CX programs within the last three years. Economic or financial pressure has impacted the highest proportion of respondents (53%).
For those with lower maturity levels, 60% had CX initiative launches stalled owing to lack of executive support, and 59% found it difficult to demonstrate value or return on investment, which leads the chief financial officer to question all future investments, it added.
Huang further said that these situations could be avoided or curbed by improving technologies that support change management programs such as employee training tools.