Two years ago, Gartner reported that that by 2020, over 80% of marketers expected to be competing on customer experience. Despite the tremendous disruption caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, this expectation still holds, and customer experience remains the number one source of competitive advantage for many brands.

For consumers, their expectations have only risen as well.  According to Salesforce’s 2020 State of Marketing report, almost 70% of consumers globally expect a connected experience across a brand’s different channels.

But the unfortunate reality is that most “customer experiences” are falling short of customer expectations. A just “good enough” customer experience is almost never good enough for customers.

A study conducted by Web CMS provider Acquia found that 82% of companies think they’re delivering an exceptional customer experience—but only 10% of their customers agree!

Personalization is still the best path to a sustainable CX

Personalization can mean different things depending on your starting point, but a broad vision is simply getting the right content, with the right tone, to the right customer, at the right time. That means you must be able to connect customer data to content data in order to deliver a personalized experience that strikes all the right chords. Beyond having the vision, pursuing personalization also requires new ways of working. Because, while artificial intelligence can help make data analyses easier, creating net new content still requires people.

Personalized content is at the intersection of content and customer data.
Personalized content is at the intersection of content and customer data.

It’s worth it too. In the same Acquia study, 80% of customers said they would be more loyal to a brand “that showed they really understood me and what I was looking for.” So why waste a customer’s good will with content that doesn’t speak directly to them?

Customer experience still requires a blend of human touch and technology automation

Despite major advances in technology and the general trend towards the digitization of the world, your customer experience remains a blend of digital wizardry and human touch.

The challenge for many organizations remains navigating all the complexities of your company to deliver a customer experience that is consistent, omnichannel, and exceptional regardless of interacting with a human or computer. That new way of working requires a careful blending of people, process, and technology.

Because, let’s face it, the reason personalization is more of a journey than a discrete endpoint, is because a personalization strategy is always changing as your customer’s needs and expectations change.

“Good enough” won’t cut it

Let’s focus for a moment on the technology aspect.

Virtually no company ever thinks about hiring “good enough” for their people resources. They always want the best people to do their best work! No question.

When it comes to technology, the complete disconnect between the brand view and the customer view is evidence of something bigger: companies buy technology that is only “good enough” …and regret it later.

Forrester found that 83% of digital retail pros struggle to work across silos. The Acquia Customer Experience study found that most marketers are frustrated with their existing CX technology stack. Of the marketers surveyed, 62% want their marketing technology to work together but can’t make it happen. Almost 70% of these marketers blame this on limitations from the technology providers.

Your people are probably working plenty hard enough. It’s your platforms that aren’t pulling their weight.

“Good enough” costs real dollars

If you miss a little bit on your CX, does it really matter? The short answer is “Yes”—and it can mean a lot for your organization financially.

Making the commitment to a differentiated customer experience can accelerate revenue growth regardless of your industry.

Small improvements in CX can mean big gains for your business.
Small improvements in CX can mean big gains for your business.

If you want to learn more about cutting through ‘digital sameness’ in your industry, check out this presentation from Forrester’s Nick Barber that was presented during Season 1 of Aprimo Sync!