CEOs who personally tackle the social media-driven boom in customer experience are winning back profits

Apple CEO Tim Cook meets a customer in-store. Photo: Getty Images

Taking responsibility for a company’s success or failure is tough enough but some CEOs are taking control of specific aspects of the business — and it’s paying off.

A new study by The Economist Intelligence Unit, released by Genesys, revealed a surge in customer experience investment by Australasian companies over the next three years as more and more people vent their frustration – and delight – at products and services through social media.

Here’s what the study said:

Not only is the commercial environment becoming more competitive in many industries, the proliferation of customer contact points and the frequency of customer interaction have swelled potential sources of dissatisfaction. With no personal touch to smooth things over, one bad experience can lead a customer to happily decamp.

To make matters worse, that same customer can instantaneously contact many thousands of others and regale them with a thorough appraisal of the reasons for their disenchantment. However, if done well, customer experience (CX) initiatives can reduce costs, increase revenues and improve customer satisfaction.

The study surveyed 516 senior-level executives from 21 countries in April 2015. The sample included 30 Australian and New Zealand execs from a range of industries, including retail banking, insurance, telecommunications and media.

Respondents said the increased investment was aimed at accelerating their business’s digital transformation and improving customer loyalty.

The surge in investment can be linked to the direct correlation the survey found between CEO engagement in customer experience and performance in revenue growth and profitability.

Some 58% of Australasian companies reported a much higher profitability than their competitors when the CEO was in charge of customer experience.

The study also revealed:

  • 86% considered improving customer experience a key driver for digital transformation,
  • 40% said investment led to increased customer retention, and
  • 20% plan to boost investment by more than one quarter in the next three years.

Genesys Asia Pacific managing director Bruce Eidsvik said: “More and more senior executives are beginning to not only understand their digital consumer but also see the urgent need for customer experience innovation to be prioritised on their investment agenda and to keep up with today’s digitally driven customer.”

While the importance of digital consumer channels such as social media, web self-service (web transactions without human assistance) and online assistance is set to increase, 60% of Australasian business leaders still believe face-to-face interaction between companies and customers is an important and effective customer experience channel.

You can download the full Asia-Pacific report here.

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