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Only a fifth of UK companies have cracked multichannel: report

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A joined-up customer experience is an aspiration rather than a reality for many businesses rather than a reality, according to a new report. For many businesses are still puzzling out how to put the pieces of their multichannel customer experience strategy in place.

The Multichannel Customer Experience Report by Econsultancy, published in association with customer experience consultancy Foviance, has found that just 22% of UK companies have a well-developed multichannel strategy in place to join up their sales channels, both online or offline.

Most businesses (69%) are only just starting the process of putting such a strategy in place, despite growing customer expectations that the businesses they deal with will recognise them however they get in touch.

On the other side of the equation, businesses do recognise the importance of developing such a strategy, with 46% saying that this is “very important” to their organisation and 41% that it is “quite important”.

That was important since many of the 500 companies and agencies surveyed for the research had nine or more different points of potential contact, both online and offline, with their customers.

In all, 68% saw a strong link between the long-term performance of their business and the customer’s experience.

Paul Blunden, chief executive of Foviance, said: “The rise of social networks has put the power with customers and it has never been more important for organisations to create an environment where customers notice a positive difference. Customers are no longer prepared to accept that businesses are still learning and view their multichannel interactions through a single lens, sharing their experiences widely and candidly.”

But barriers in the way of achieving this, found the research, included organisational structure, according to 41% of respondents. The complexity of customer experience (38%) and interdepartmental ownership of the multichannel experience (38%) were also key factors, as was lack of dedicated budget (41%), or indeed having no budget at all (28%).

Linus Gregoriadis, research director at Econsultancy, said: “It is clear that while the vast majority of companies understand the impact on business performance, very few organisations have integrated, cross-channel processes and systems in place, or a strategy to help them to achieve this.

“An increasing number of online and offline customer touch points are making it even more difficult for organisations to ensure a consistent cross-channel customer experience based on the holy grail of a single customer view.

“Companies are typically trying to integrate systems and adopt a customer-centric approach, but haven’t yet reached the stage where they have properly managed to harness these different processes in a way which allows for seamless cross-channel engagement.”

For more on the research click here.

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