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Engage With the Reality of Customer Experience

3 minute read

Steve Morrell, Managing Director of ContactBabel, talks about the reality of customer experience, following the publication of the ‘UK Customer Experience Decision-Makers' Guide.’

The guide is a major annual report studying the CX strategy, performance, operations, and technology aspects of over 200 UK organisations. Additionally, a survey of 1,000 UK consumers is conducted to understand the reality of customer experience.

So, how Important is Customer Experience to organisations?

Survey respondents were asked how their organisation competed, ranking three factors in order of importance: quality, price, and customer experience.

For 56% of UK businesses to say that customer experience, rather than price or quality, was the main factor upon which they wish to compete in the market can be seen as being very significant and indicative of the mindset of senior business leaders in the UK: many organisations are now seeing customer experience as being the key to profitability.

CX Budget, ROI & Investment

The primary purpose of CX improvements was said to be a reduction in the cost of service, although increasing customer retention rates was also rated highly.

47% of CX investment is being spent on technology, with 26% on business process improvements and 19% on employee training.

Digital channels take up 54% of CX investments, with telephony accounting for 35% and physical stores only 6%. Considering telephony accounts for around 70% of customer contact, this seems an underinvestment in today’s reality.

There is a strong belief that board-level support for CX improvements is strong, but the widespread finding that there is not always enough time and resource for CX improvement shows that having a customer-centric culture does not easily or necessarily translate into actual action to improve CX.


The issue of legacy technology holding back customer experience is reported to be a major problem by 45% of survey respondents. While there has been a very significant move to cloud – supported recently by the need for remote and hybrid working – it is clear that there is still a long way to go before businesses can fully develop their CX-supporting technology.

Live web chat, chatbots, interaction analytics and web self-service are the technologies reported to have the greatest positive impact on CX.

In terms of intended new implementations in the next 12 months, AI and interaction analytics dominate, with messaging and web chat also receiving serious interest.

What Does CX Mean to a Customer?

First-contact resolution and short queue times are clearly seen as being the most important factors impacting upon customer experience. A surprisingly high proportion of older customers also rate having a UK-based agent as vital to their CX.

The report looked at which channels customers prefer to use, depending upon whether the issue is emotional, urgent, or complex.

High-emotion issues (including complaints) see many customers prefer to use email, but urgent and complex issues have seen a huge move towards telephony in the past few years.

CX Benchmarking

On average, 7.3% of telephone calls received by a contact centre were complaints, although 80% were not about the contact centre itself (or its staff), but rather ‘failure demand’, caused by a breakdown of process elsewhere in the organisation.

The most widely used customer experience benchmark is the general customer satisfaction rating, which is used by 91% of respondents. First-contact resolution rate is used by only 74%, despite being key to CX.

The average NPS score is 57. Only 21% of survey respondents report missing their target quality scores, and 30% have a lower customer satisfaction score than their target.

Survey respondents were asked to pick a single customer experience metric upon which their board or senior management team most judged the success or otherwise of the customer experience programme. There was a wide mix of responses, with NPS and customer satisfaction score accounting for more than half of responses.

Interestingly, despite first-contact resolution rate being reported as the key to driving positive customer experience, only 6% of businesses stated that it was the CX metric considered most important by the senior management team.

CX Future Strategy

Survey respondents were asked their opinion on how important various customer experience developments would be to their organisation in the next two years.

Perhaps the most striking finding was that the most important factor determining the future success of the CX programme was not technology-related, but rather a requirement for the continuing and strengthening executive commitment to improving customer experience, without which the multi-departmental CX initiatives could not hope to succeed.

By Steve Morrell, Managing Director of ContactBabel

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