CMO Council Report: the state of customer experience across Asia-Pacific and Japan

In a new study on the state of customer experience across APJ (Asia-Pacific and Japan), the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council reports that only 26% of marketers surveyed believe their back office systems and operational structures enable their companies to live up to brand promises and marketing claims.

The CMO Council, in partnership with SAP, gathered insights from 245 senior marketers in 16 Asia-Pacific countries through an online audit during the third and fourth quarters of 2013. Findings from the audit show that only 10% of respondents felt there was strong alignment and synergy among functional heads when it comes to ensuring a seamless experience across all customer touch points and business operational areas.

With the voice and influence of Asia’s mobile device-connected, socially active and brand-conscious consumers mounting, regional marketers feel they need to step up their game when it comes to ensuring that companies live up to marketing claims and brand promises on an operational, after-market support and back-office-systems level.

“There is no point in wasting marketing resources on seducing customers with offers, incentives and captivating branding if there is a big disconnect on the product, business policy or service experience side,” noted Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council. “You’ll just see churn, disaffection and bad word-of-mouth that can be quite damaging in a socially connected region like Asia.”

The CMO Council notes that just 23% of marketers surveyed in APJ have calculated how customer experience has directly impacted business performance through lost or gained revenue, retention, defection, detraction or advocacy.

APJ marketers believe customer-centric cultures require CEO mandates, management commitments and employee empowerment that is driven by real-time market insights, more personalised engagements and higher-value, actionable information and analytics delivered across the organisation.

From a benchmarking standpoint, the CMO Council study, entitled “Maximise How You Individualise,” reveals that the customer experience lacks measurement, accountability and dedicated resources throughout APJ based companies and multi-nationals operating in the region. This is surprising considering that 45% of survey respondents represented companies with $1 billion or more in revenue, and 30% held positions at companies with annual sales between $100 million and $1 billion.

Ownership of the customer experience is seen by survey participants to be fragmented and distributed across multiple titles and areas of operational responsibility, including the CMO (31%), head of service and support (10%), vice president or director of customer sales and service (9%), chief operations officer (8%), chief sales officer (6%), and chief experience officer (6%). Only 39% of marketers feel these individuals have the authority and budget to really influence and impact CXM.

“It is easy for marketers to get caught in a conversation about who owns the customer experience. In reality, everyone across the enterprise bears a responsibility to deliver consistent, relevant and delightful customer experiences. However, marketers have the unique opportunity to become the true champion of customer centricity by adopting customer-listening strategies and data-driven approaches that aid customer experience transformation,” noted Grace Ho, managing director of marketing for SAP Asia-Pacific Japan.

“Today’s marketer is in a position to empower the organisation with deep knowledge of the customer’s wants, needs and expectations. Social listening is an excellent way to glean customer sentiment about a product or service. Customer sentiment can be captured in real-time and then shared across the organisation to help adapt and shift customer experiences to maximise business outcomes. Insights from predictive analytics can foster understanding of the level of loyalty and attachment a customer has for your brand and help shape and unify the customer experience strategy for the entire organisation.”

Most notably, the CMO Council highlighted the following key data points emanating from the study:

  • Just 25% of companies have conducted a customer experience management (CXM) audit across all touch points, life stages and operational areas.
  • Only 36% of marketers report having a formal CXM strategy or program in their organisation.
  • Only 24%have a comprehensive view of engagements and interactions across all stages of the customer lifecycle.
  • Only 8% say they have well developed and fully evolved systems for understanding and meeting the needs of customers.
  • Just 11% are highly satisfied with their ability to listen and respond to the needs of the customer.