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SurveyMonkey’s State of CX Report Reveals Customer Feedback Is a Priority for CX Teams in 2023

SurveyMonkey’s State of CX Report Reveals Customer Feedback Is a Priority for CX Teams in 2023

The News: SurveyMonkey recently released survey data focused on the State of CX, that includes key areas where there is a disconnect between consumers’ feelings and CX and digital marketing professionals’ perceptions about customer experiences. Key differences found include:

  • CX and digital marketing professionals are more optimistic about the use of AI tools than consumers
  • There is not agreement about the level of CX companies are providing following the pandemic
  • There is a difference between preferred feedback channels that consumer want and what CX and digital marketing professionals plan to invest in
  • CX groups are more confident about the personalized experiences they are delivering to customers than customers are feeling

CX teams have been growing, but 40% of CX professionals surveyed said CX was not a priority for leaders and only 25% have one CX leader to oversee and manage the end-to-end customer journey. See the complete Press Release from SurveyMonkey here.

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SurveyMonkey’s State of CX Report Reveals Customer Feedback Is a Priority for CX Teams in 2023

Analyst Take: Recently-released data from SurveyMonkey uncovered a disconnect between how CX professionals feel they are doing and how customers are viewing CX. This dissonance centers on the use of AI tools, the level of CX provided post-pandemic, feedback channels, and personalized experiences. Other findings show the good news/bad news that CX teams are growing but many still feel that leaders talk about CX, but do not act on CX-related priorities. Only 25% of CX teams say there is a single leader in the company focused on CX who oversees and manages the end-to-end customer journey.

The report contains lots of data, but I wanted to especially dig into the customer feedback findings. The technologies that enable CX, such as customer relationship management (CRM), customer data and analytics, personalization & optimization, contact center solutions, and employee experience (EX) solutions, are all integral to companies aspiring to build strong CX programs. However, it is the use of customer insights & feedback technologies that provides the ignition for all these solutions. These tools provide a direct link between not only customer and company, but also employees. The flow of customer information, both directly asked for and gathered through indirect sources, is critical to the success of CX.

Challenges Tied to Customer Data and Speed to Action

There were several important points uncovered in the SurveyMonkey research, including many challenges tied into feedback and data. The dichotomy of “lack of customer data and insights” and “too much data to know what to do with” is interesting and points to the often-mentioned problem of many people not having the right type of actionable data and/or the tools and expertise to leverage it.

Image Source: SurveyMonkey

The technologies behind surveying and data collection are becoming commoditized. The variety of survey platforms, both enterprise and DIY, is astounding, and most are easy to use and deploy. However, sometimes the post-survey piece is where progress gets held up or lags, resulting in an inability to move a program forward or, worse yet, ignoring the feedback that a customer provided. Technology providers in the industry report time and time again that the solution implementations often go off the cliff sometime between collection, analysis, and action. Measurement for the sake of measurement without an action plan will result in damage to the customer relationship.

Customer support, operations, marketing, training, and digital teams often have competing priorities, different measurement requirements, and multiple, disparate systems that are not mapped well to other information sets. Additionally, the organization must have internal processes in place to route, review, and act. If someone’s customer journey begins on a website and they encounter an issue, they may then interact with the contact center. When feedback is given about that contact center friction point, the data may need to be shared with operations, the digital team, or perhaps even training. Implementations that are the most successful get the data quickly to everyone who needs it, regardless of their role. Sometimes, internal infrastructures simply are not conducive to smooth integration and flow, hindering the ability to obtain holistic views and demonstrate the full potential of these solutions.

These challenges of course tie into slow insight-to-action cycles. This action piece is critical. Consumers have high expectations placed upon companies to provide timely and empathic responses. Customers want the opportunity to be heard and acknowledged, but on their own terms and via their own channel choice. They also want action taken quickly and in a focused, personalized manner.

Companies need to get over the “what do we do with this information” barrier. The best way for companies to demonstrate empathy for customers, as well as contribute to their own internal operational efficiencies and put the foundation in place for longer-term customer relationships, is to truly listen, acknowledge, and act quickly on the feedback so that customers know they have been heard. Included in this process is closing the loop with customers. Loyal customers continue their relationship with the brand and potentially sign up for more services or deepen usage, which can then, in turn, result in the ROI needed for increased investment in customer insights & feedback technologies.

Providing Feedback Channels to Meet Consumers Where They Are

Data from SurveyMonkey indicates companies are close, but not totally on target with the channels they are using to collect data. Phone calls are a bit of surprise, but the data showed there was a big generational difference with 65% of consumers aged 65 and above preferring this channel versus 39% among those aged 18 to 24.

Image Source: SurveyMonkey

In this survey, social media is a bit low on consumer preference, but it was good to see 44% of companies are using it as a channel. The use of social listening can improve CX by helping to amplify and clarify feedback and broaden that 360-degree view you want of a customer.

Increased Investment in Customer Feedback Is Potentially Coming

According to the SurveyMonkey data, 39% of CX professionals surveyed say that “integrating customer feedback into company initiatives and strategies” is a priority this year and 52% of CX pros say they want more investment in customer feedback programs. That is encouraging as many companies are still taking a lackluster and somewhat non-creative approach to customer data collection. Collecting and acting on feedback is a priority for 41% of respondents.

It is not surprising that there is a reality gap between how CX professionals think they are doing and how customers view CX efforts. This illustrates the fact that often companies are not getting the right type of customer data they need, or do not have the capabilities in place to tie it all together into a cohesive picture for targeted and personalized actions. Investment dollars for CX technologies may be getting heightened scrutiny but sustained focus on customer feedback is crucial not just for customer loyalty and satisfaction, but for internal operations as well.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

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Author Information

As a detail-oriented researcher, Sherril is expert at discovering, gathering and compiling industry and market data to create clear, actionable market and competitive intelligence. With deep experience in market analysis and segmentation she is a consummate collaborator with strong communication skills adept at supporting and forming relationships with cross-functional teams in all levels of organizations.

She brings more than 20 years of experience in technology research and marketing; prior to her current role, she was a Research Analyst at Omdia, authoring market and ecosystem reports on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and User Interface technologies. Sherril was previously Manager of Market Research at Intrado Life and Safety, providing competitive analysis and intelligence, business development support, and analyst relations.

Sherril holds a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from University of Colorado, Boulder and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rutgers University.

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