Latin American companies that have invested in customer experience (CX) over the past year are 6.5 times more likely to maximize resilience during the pandemic, according to the CX 2021 Maturity Report, from Zendesk, Inc. in partnership with the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). In addition, they are three times more likely to grow their customer base year after year.
Jeff Titterton, Zendesk’s Chief Operating Officer, says the survey confirms what executives say: that the customer experience requires continual investment and innovation to truly differentiate the business. “The way customer service is viewed is changing. Having the tools for proactive service, information sharing and cross-selling is now as important as problem solving.”
The survey polled 3,250 decision makers worldwide (483 in Latin America) in the second quarter of 2021. The objective was to understand the characteristics and benefits of being ahead in CX, and for this, ESG built a maturity scale to identify common patterns and behaviors that separate high-maturity CX organizations (the champions, or leaders) from those below: starters, emerging, and risers (evolved).
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According to Ivan Preti, Zendesk’s technical account manager for Latin America, companies have already realized that stagnation in CX leads to the loss of customers and competitiveness in relation to companies that apply continuous innovations in this area. “That’s why 74% of medium and large Brazilian organizations accelerated their CX initiatives in the last 12 months.”
The report outlines what companies need to do to move up the maturity scale. They need to apply a set of best practices to drive results. Look:
- Service teams must be properly trained to perform their functions well: in addition to having a 360 view of customers, they are able to change channels without interrupting customer service.
- The number of employees must be sufficient to ensure that the service teams are not overloaded.
- After the pandemic, professionals will be able to continue working remotely.
- Feedback from customer interactions must be applied by the organization to evolve its processes.
- Attendants work collaboratively in a multidisciplinary team and are empowered to create experiences based on consumer feedback.
- The company offers shorter response times and is more efficient.
data and technology
- All service data necessary to run the business is available.
- Information about appointments is reported in real time.
- With technology, service agents can provide better customer experiences.
- Even in the face of uncertainties, the organization invests in and accelerates CX projects.
According to the study, the number of champions in medium and large companies in Latin America rose from 17% to 19% since 2020. In Brazil, 16% consider themselves leaders in CX. Both results are above the global average (9%). “This indicates that the shift to teleworking during the pandemic has companies accelerating adoption of new technologies, policies and processes to benefit from higher CX maturity,” says Adam DeMattia, director of Custom Research at ESG.
There is also a clear correlation between CX’s improved maturity and more effective customer service, with 57% lower response times and, consequently, greater customer satisfaction. “Problem resolution is 64% faster and 86% of requests are resolved in a single interaction,” says Preti. Another aspect of the study points to the connection between CX maturity and higher revenue growth.
Protection from competition
The majority of respondents in Latin America (93%) agree that CX innovation helps protect businesses against competition. In addition, they understand that customer data is critical to innovation: nearly half of them (47%) think they could do more to use that information and expand sales opportunities and business growth. Champions are at the forefront of continuous CX innovation, 17.8 times more likely to use customer service data.
Almost all leaders in Latin America (97%) point out that one of their teams’ main goals is to provide a conversational experience with customers. This shows that there is a shift towards transactional service, which focused exclusively on call resolution. These Champions are 65% more likely to prioritize conversational experiences to build deeper relationships. What’s more: 86% of organizations believe that chat and social channels will be used more by customers in the future, compared to 73% who say this is the case today.
Another conclusion was that investment in CX leads to agent retention. Training, flexibility and well-being have been an investment priority over the past 18 months to implement tools to support overburdened service teams. That’s because about a quarter (24% compared to 15% in 2020) of organizations in Latin America say that staff turnover remains a challenge.
The customer service area has become increasingly strategic in organizations. “That traditional view of being a cost center is changing,” says Preti. “In Brazil, 69% of large and medium-sized companies say their service area is an active source of revenue, a percentage well above global levels (30%).”
At the beginning of the pandemic, CX leaders made investments and changes in the process. This includes adoption of collaboration tools to improve communication (66%), increased use of mobile devices by agents (60%), increased use of public cloud services (60%), more flexible working policies (59%) , and expansion of mental health/wellness initiatives (58%). As a result, they are almost four times more likely to retain agents.
For the consumer, this movement will bring better service experiences. “Companies that evolve in CX change the way they communicate with their consumers and often exceed their expectations”, explains Preti. “That’s because these companies strive to be where their customers are and offer a greater variety of service channels. In general, they have 1.5 more channels than CX newcomers. the brand.”
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