Customer experience has become a front-and-center concern for retailers, in some cases eclipsing even quarterly earnings in importance. As a result, companies are devoting the time and resources necessary to improve the customer experience piece of their business, even knowing they may not see a return on that investment right away.

Executive Support is Critical

According to Forbes, a study last year showed 75% of companies considered their top objective improving customer experience, and top executives are starting to drive that priority shift. CEOs are the driving force behind company culture, and without their involvement and support, the necessary change of emphasis towards customer experience has little chance of getting off the ground.
Forbes wrote about a Forrester report this year that identified the top three challenges for a customer experience program, which include organizational culture, organizational structures, and processes. For each, the CEO is the prime mover.

Technology at the Heart of the Change

Part of enhancing customer experience involves personalization, and companies can achieve this by leveraging their customer data. This ensures customers are only receiving relevant advertising, and helps brands identify and meet customer needs. Technological advances like machine learning make personalization easier than ever before, but companies must successfully leverage it for it to work.
Sifting through the enormous amounts of customer data every company has is too big a job for human employees, so more and more companies are taking advantage of machine smarts to handle the task. Wireless provider Sprint recently implemented a real-time data solution that offered predictive and self-learning analytics to reduce customer churn, and the results were undeniable: it reduced customer churn by 10% and increased customer upgrades by a factor of eight, according to Forbes.
Augmented reality is another technology helping customers bridge the gap between e-commerce and in-store shopping. Amazon does many things well, but as of now you still can’t try before you buy. Using mobile apps, augmented reality enables customers to see what that couch they’re eying would look like in their home, or what a new shade of lipstick would look like on their face. This brings customers closer to the in-store experience, and gives them a better idea of what they’ll be buying before they make a purchase.
Leveraging new technologies is a big part of what companies can do to enhance customer experience, but in order for it to work there must be executive-level decision makers taking active interest in the investments required. If either piece is not in place, the stated desire of companies to improve customer experience amounts to little more than talk.

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