Investing in customer experience is becoming more and more important everyday. Source: Shutterstock

Investing in customer experience is becoming more and more important everyday. Source: Shutterstock

Gartner believes investment in customer experience will rise this year

CUSTOMER experience is something businesses are constantly talking about. In the digital age, a customer experience that is rated above industry peers is regarded as a competitive edge and directly impacts revenues.

Businesses seem to understand this quite well, which is why most are looking to spend more on upgrading the customer experience they provide.

According to Gartner’s most recent forecast, although efforts remain inconsistent in many organizations, there are signs of greater commitment and execution this year — with a majority of leaders (74 percent) saying they expect budgets to grow.

Compared to 2017 figures where only 47 percent of leaders said they expected a budget increase in the coming months, the 2019/2020 figures indicate a great deal of optimism.

“Organizations have matured in their understanding of the business outcomes that customer experience (CX) delivers. As a result, the budget outlook is expected to grow to match. This raises the stakes for CX leaders to select metrics that demonstrate impact and prove the value of CX to business results,” said Gartner  VP Analyst Augie Ray.

An important observation that Gartner’s analysts made from its survey was that leaders who expected their budgets to grow, either slightly or significantly, did so based on the fact that they were able to demonstrate to their board how investments in customer experience positively impacted the business.

“CX leaders should consistently measure the value of improved customer satisfaction to the organization to justify and sustain growing CX budgets. This is especially important in a period where many expect an imminent economic recession and organization-wide budget cuts.”

As a result, Gartner believes that leaders must actively make efforts to demonstrate the business impact of customer experience investments by using customer data. This might include mapping how satisfied customers drive up revenue, lower churn, reduce costs, and grow the business.

For those that expect an increase in their budgets, Gartner suggests remembering that budgeting, especially for customer experience, shouldn’t be a once-a-year process.

While it is recommended that annual budgets are created by collaborating with key stakeholders and gathering data, analysts remind CX leaders that monitoring performance and consistently correcting for the highest impact are key to ensuring continued support from the organization.

Ultimately, investing in customer experience is critical for businesses of all kinds. Those that are able to tie investments to the organization’s goals and returns tend to get more resources and create better outcomes for the organization, its customers, and its stakeholders.