Companies have more data and resources than ever to create seamless customer experiences (CX). But according to a Forrester Consulting study commissioned by CSG, only 51 percent of companies can customize interactions based on customer profiles, and only 46 percent can orchestrate interactions in real time.

Joana de Quintanilha, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, and Dave Bukovinsky, director of product management at CSG, broke down the study and its implications in a recent webinar.

We didn’t get the chance to cover all the audience questions in the webinar, so we’re sharing some of Joana and Dave’s answers to some of your top questions here. See what they had to say below.


How do you handle it when senior leadership isn’t prioritizing CX?

Joana: With the many clients that we’ve worked with in the past, a couple of things really work to get leadership to focus on CX. For one, it really works to bring to life what the current state of your customer experience is. Where are those customer problems? Where do we see behavioral things that indicate that a journey is not healthy, or that customers are churning? Bringing that to life with numbers [helps] but also really telling the customer story in a way that creates empathy within the organization and among executives.

For instance, we’ve seen a lot of companies create callback programs for executives that call back customers who have had problems with their organization—a number of calls a quarter or a month. And I think the trick there is to make it as easy as possible for them to make those calls and to really hear firsthand from the customer what those problems might be.

I’ve seen companies also have executives actually go through customer journeys the way that a customer would so that they can really live that experience, and that can sometimes really shake up a mindset and create some momentum in terms of improving customer experience.

So one side of it is bringing that customer experience to life, and bringing some of those negative things as well as bright spots. We’re really telling that story with numbers as well as with actual words and the actual unfiltered customer experience, bringing executives closer to that. But we’re also linking customer experience improvements to business results, to return on investment. How does it impact financial and strategic success? How does it impact operational efficiency? How does it lower risk?

I don’t think there’s a magic bullet out there, but there are different things that work, and those are some of the ones that I’ve seen be effective.


What new insights has the Pandemic brought into the future of CX?

Dave: I will tell you what we have seen as a solution provider for CX during the pandemic—which we think is going to shape what’s going to be the future, as well.

We saw an expectation from our customers that we need to get a message out to 50 million people telling them that our branches are closed, or we are now doing prescription deliveries only. I think our customers need to reach their customers faster than ever and on short notice.

One of our clients, like I said, was closing a bunch of bank branches. They needed to notify all their customers that use that bank branch fairly quickly so they’re not driving up, finding the locked door and having a bad experience.

So I think enterprises—regardless of what line of business you’re in—you’re going to have to learn how to be much more responsive, informing your customer as to changes whether it’s crisis related or non-crisis related. That standard has now been set. I expect to know right now if my experience is going to be different as a result of something either I did or something in the more macro environment.

Joana: Absolutely, I couldn’t agree more. And in fact, I think in some ways maybe there’s a positive out of the situation that we’re in now, in that a lot of organizations realize they need to get that message out quickly. They need to be very proactive. But they also need to think more cross-functionally and across different channels. You can’t just put a message on your website and forget about your call center agent scripts and aligning those, and making sure that your agents also are able to answer certain questions.

So if anything, I’ve seen companies actually elevating the need to do things like journey mapping and think across different channels, and to think about those messages that need to go out proactively. And ask what else they need to do to make sure that those messages are seamless and consistent.


Does CSG recommend taking an overall approach or crawl-walk-run (for instance, start improving in channels or an assessment process)?

Dave: I think it’s a combination. The reason I say that is that the implementation is crawl-walk-run. But I think up front you have to do some voice-centered research to really understand the current customer journey and the current customer experience in order to choose which pain point that you’re going to pick first. So you really need to do some of that research up front. And it’s not time-consuming, it’s not a year-long project, but you need that data. And then maybe some analytics, as well, around the actual customer experience. And then you leverage that to define your crawl-walk-run implementation approach.

Joana: I would agree with that entirely, and I think that it depends a little bit on your strategy and also the urgency with which you need to change. I’ve worked with many clients that are just at different stages of maturity in terms of just how embedded the journey mindset is within the organization. And I think depending on that, and how ready your organization is to also think cross-functionally, that also determines how quickly you can maybe crawl, or sort of skip ahead to run, how much time you have to do that. I’ve seen companies have to pivot very quickly and others being able to take a little bit of a longer-term approach to this.

For more expert insights on delivering end-to-end CX, watch Joana and Dave’s webinar here.