Real Truths Why Customer Obsession Is Essential

Experience-driven businesses (EDBs) consistently deliver on metrics that align with revenue growth targets and boost customer loyalty and retention. It is a key finding in a Forrester survey of 1,024 firms released in February this year for the Asia Pacific region.

Commissioned by Adobe Research, the study found that long-term investment in customer experience (CX) is paying off for the 29% of brands who embraced it. APAC brands focusing on customer experience achieved an average revenue growth rate of 23%, compared with 13% in other firms.

Furthermore, employees in these firms enjoy 60% greater personal and team satisfaction than their counterparts, along with 30% greater company-wide satisfaction. Massive strides in global digital connectivity have molded customer expectations around the narrative that only hyper-personalized products and services will thrive.

Tapping CX Data Analytics – “Me Too!”

As more CX-enlightened firms realize this emerging imperative for business relevance survival, how do they differentiate? “By making sure we deliver the right content and experience to the right student and prospect at the right time, we build stronger relationships with our students and alumni community, while at the same time delivering a better academic experience across the board,” Ben Foo, CMO, Taylor’s University said.

In Singapore, OCBC Bank launched advanced digital banking services such as biometric ATMs and digital service kiosks with facial recognition, fingerprint authentication, and voice banking via the Google Assistant or Apple Siri as a way of responding to changing customer needs. “What sets OCBC Bank apart is having the critical skills in-house to truly understand our customers and to deliver products that are relevant and of value to them,” said Cedric Dias, Head of Digital Marketing, Product Marketing and Silver Segment. Their Customer Experience and Group Analytics and Decisioning teams synergized CX efforts, while their marketing teams leveraged data to create the right interactions for their customers.

The bank places a lot of emphasis on learning fast and scaling quickly. It led to the creation of products that feature deeper engagement with our customer base. Each potential product goes through a rigorous process that involves CX labs and experience design processes that delve down to each webpage that goes up on the website.

Such experience-driven transformations are redefining how the age-old “customer-obsession” mantra is being played out in the age of disruption.  The Forrester study posits that CX transformations require substantial and sustained commitment from management right down to rank-and-file stakeholders. Only a shared CX vision and culture, coupled with granular data to track return on investment, can guide EDBs on the path to strong survivability and profitability.

Focused diversification through strategic alliances

With crowdfunding, cryptocurrency, peer-to-peer financing models and fintech innovations spanning a global marketplace, the banking and finance sector is among the most pressured industry to take heed of disruptive competition from startups and resource-rich conglomerates eyeing a share of the pie. It is where CX-obsessiveness through strategic alliances can help existing players to stay relevant through selected and focused diversification.

For example, in OCBC’s case, it was one of the first to look at the ecosystem space and create critical partnerships such as the OCBC Bank-Starhub partnership, the OneAdvisorHome Ecosystem, and their mumstruly.com ecosystem. “These partnerships are both digital and also bricks-and-mortar, as in the case of OCBC and telco Starhub. We believe that while the need for banking and banking services will always remain, there will be significant opportunities for us to extend our offerings to customers in ecosystems where banks can participate meaningfully,” Cedric said.

Sacrifice short-term wins for long-term CX

The study commissioned by Adobe Research pointed out that firms that prioritize holistic customer experiences report higher costs but enjoy more than twice as much returns on ad spend. They also said 80% higher year-on-year growth rates and a doubling of their customer lifetime value.  Finally, their committed and happy employees stay with the organization to see it through every challenge.

But becoming EDBs does not, and should not, happen overnight. Broad and long-term investments toward supporting organizational change, process improvements and advanced technology capabilities require deep commitment, planning, and execution.

The most valuable takeaway of the increasing volume of digital transformation (DX) research is that knowing your customers and delighting them with memorable experiences in unique and personable ways is becoming crucial for success. The simple truth is that CX obsessiveness allows you to stand out from an increasingly crowded market environment.