In WARC’s Marketer’s Toolkit survey, 52% of brands and 61% of agencies regard customer experience as the most important element of digital transformation

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Source: WARC

For businesses undergoing digital transformation, achieving a consistent customer experience across all channels is a major challenge – and one that is hampered by a tendency to focus efforts online at the expense of offline, a WARC report suggests.

CX: Online to offline, part of WARC’s Marketer’s Toolkit 2019, argues that the focus on digital transformation has created an unbalanced view of the broader CX picture.

In WARC’s Marketer’s Toolkit survey, 52% of brands and 61% of agencies regard CX as the most important element of digital transformation and both admit that the consistency of that is variable, if it exists at all.

Research by Kantar TNS has found that offline channels are most influential to advocacy. However, as more transactions take place online, offline infrastructure has been cut accordingly – often to detriment of overall CX.

“Our expectations of physical spaces have dramatically changed in the last 12 months,” observes Abbie Walsh, managing director, UK and Ireland, Fjord, who recommends that brands use their understanding of customers’ online behaviours to reshape offline experience. “In doing so, they will be able to create a live customer experience which transcends the digital world.”

The key findings around CX from WARC’s Marketer’s Toolkit 2019 survey reveal that:

  • Brands are trying to ensure digital CX advancements are matched in the physical world.

This often means the digitisation of offline environments with gadgets. However, brands looking to improve CX should start with the desired experience, and not necessarily the favoured technology.

  • Consumers in differing locations and environments may have unique demands of an offline brand experience.

CX should be designed to match customer expectation, and those expectations can vary from one real world location to the next.

  • The quality of customer service will have a huge bearing on the quality of offline CX.

Brands investing in employee training, and proving staff with the required tools to deliver a superior experience, are most likely to succeed.

  • CX management is not always about fixing problems.

While it is important to rectify potentially damaging experience pain points, such a reactive approach is unlikely to move an organisation ahead of the competition.

CX: Online to Offline is one of the spin-off reports from Marketer’s Toolkit 2019 following WARC’s annual survey with more than 800 client marketers and agency executives around the world, and is backed by CMO interviews, WARC’s case studies and best practice guidance.

A free PDF sample of the report is available to download here. The full report is available to WARC subscribers.