Despite Uncertain Economy, CX Technologies in Demand
Being in a customer experience technology role comes with a certain amount of job security.
Consider these recent Metrigy research findings:
- The majority of companies have rated customer satisfaction as one of their top three business priorities (and the highest percentage rated it as No. 1) for three straight years, ahead of other factors such as revenue generation, product/service quality, and security, among others.
- Successful companies (those with higher-than-average business success metrics resulting from the use of CX technologies) are spending nearly $2,700 per employee annually on CX technologies, compared to only $1,400 for those showing below-average success metrics, according to Metrigy’s Customer Engagement Transformation 2022-23 research study.
- More than 65% of companies say they are increasing CX spending in 2023, by an average of 24%. No other technology area garnered a higher number of companies increasing spending. What’s more, only 9.6% of companies plan to decrease CX spending, the lowest of any technology category measured, according to Metrigy’s Technology Spending Update research study conducted in August 2022.
I’m the first to say this economy is questionable and scary—and it makes me rethink any spending decision, personally or professionally. It’s understandable that some companies are playing it safe and reducing overall business spending or keeping it flat.
But with customer-facing technologies, that’s a different story. The uncertain economy presents some significant opportunities for investment that ultimately can differentiate organizations and increase loyalty among both customers and employees.
I see five key reasons that business leaders should continue being bullish on their CX spending.
Agent turnover remains too high, with about 32% of agents leaving their jobs in 2021. Turnover wasn’t that high prior to the pandemic. In fact, it had settled down to 21% in 2019. But as agents moved to home offices, some couldn’t make the switch. Others took advantage of opportunities with other companies that were offering better compensation packages.
Like many job categories, CX leaders continue to have trouble filling open positions, as well. CX technology helps to automate customer inquiries, improve agent coaching, and identify low performers. Companies that are short-staffed spend 51.9% more on CX technologies than those that are at staff. Cutting that spend now would be a detriment to existing agents who rely on, for example, AI-enabled self-service that successfully fields customer questions and lessens the load on the contact center. It also could affect customer satisfaction because the technologies that help agents improve their performance could be on the chopping block.
Customers Have Power
We all know that one viral social media post can make or break a company. Monitoring apps in the contact center is what alerts agents to those posts. When the comments are negative, it’s imperative for agents to jump on them immediately to address the issue before things get worse. Cutting technology that monitors this could result in some highly negative ratings—and results for the company.
In addition, poor customer experiences will be amplified on social media. Without teams and technology to address those comments, customers will be wary to continue working with the company.
Customers Have Embraced Self-Service, Digital Channels
In recent years, customers have seen rapid changes and improvements in self-service and non-voice digital channels for service and sales. Companies that stop these projects—or worse yet, can’t support the existing ones—will be at a competitive disadvantage.
The emerging interaction channels, along with AI-capable apps—are opportunities for investment. For example, customers worried about their investment accounts find some comfort in being able to screen-share with their advisors. They can jointly review the existing portfolio and investment opportunities to make the best possible decisions.
Self-service helps when hold times are long. For simple questions, transactions, or forms, self-service FAQs, virtual assistants, or voicebots can resolve an issue quickly and painlessly.
Virtual is Key
Customers already are opting for video exchanges over in-person meetings, in part because they will save on fuel costs or time away from work, but also because they expect the convenience. Video, screen-sharing, and co-browsing are especially beneficial for healthcare virtual visits, insurance consultations, virtual tours of campuses, or software support.
Down Economies Create New Needs
Customers require help during questionable economic times, particularly in the areas of financial services, high-tech, retail, and hospitality. Give them what they need now—from the interaction channel that best suits them—and they’ll be loyal for years to come.
So, if you’re thinking of reducing CX spending, think again. Re-evaluate other areas for spending cuts. Perhaps it’s commercial real-estate, given the success of home offices. Or, maybe renegotiating telecom/network contracts can generate cost savings. Customers are the lifeline of the company, so don’t shirk their needs during a down economy.