UK brands leading in customer experience (CX) are three times more likely to exceed their 2019 business goals according to Adobe’s latest 2020 Digital Trends report. Now in its tenth year, the report, which surveyed over 13,000 global marketing, advertising, ecommerce, creative and IT professionals, also found that those leading in CX all shared a common approach to investing more in people, technology and structures.
CX a priority but maturity is lacking
Almost a quarter (24%) of British brands rank CX optimisation as a top priority for 2020. Encouragingly, the UK’s focus on CX outranks the global and European average of 22%, ahead of both Germany (23%) and Italy (16%), and behind only the Nordics (26%) and France (25%).
However, a clear maturity gap has opened up between CX ambition and actual capability in several European countries, with just one in 20 brands from the UK (5%), Germany and the Nordics (both 6%) ranking their CX development as ‘very advanced’. French brands rank themselves highest in Europe when it comes to CX maturity, with 16% saying their strategy and technology is aligned to the customer experience, ahead of Italy at 12%.
For brands seeking to close the maturity gap, they must look beyond a single piece of technology or initiative, instead focusing on creating an organisational structure and culture that adopts a customer-first model.
Attracting and retaining talent a top concern
The hunt for quality talent is proving to be a challenge for many, with one in five (19%) UK businesses leading in customer experience, admitting that attracting and retaining talent in CX-related areas is their most pressing challenge in 2020, second only to France (20%) in Europe.
Perhaps more worryingly, almost a third (31%) of British brands say finding people with the right digital skills is preventing them from creating successful digital experiences, ahead of the European average (29%). To plug the digital skills gap, particularly around artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), brands must ensure they take an agile approach to upskilling, which aligns with long-term business strategy, flows from the top down, and spans the entire organisation.
AI will empower brands to optimise and personalise
43% of British brands are already using AI/ML or planning to invest this year. Brands that embrace automation possess a clear business advantage. Equipped with the ability to make intelligent real-time decisions that are personalised to the individual, businesses will be closer to their customers than ever before.
Encouragingly, a third of UK companies cite targeting and personalisation as their main area of focus in 2020 – while one in five say data-driven marketing that’s focused on the individual is their top priority, ranking ahead of both France (11%) and Germany (15%).
This indicates that commitment to automation will only continue to grow this year and beyond.
Today’s consumers have more choice, are better informed, and are more demanding than ever. A customer-led approach is no longer optional – it’s business critical. Brands need to connect with customers in more dynamic and engaging ways. By focusing on creating the right culture and team, supported by the right technology, brands will be able to react to changing customer and market needs, faster than ever.
Alvaro Del Pozo, Vice President of Marketing, International, Adobe