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CAPE TOWN, South Africa, 19th September 2018

Gartner Reveals Three Customer Experience Myths

Analysts Discuss Best Practices and Pitfalls of the Customer Experience Journey at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, September 17-19 2018, Cape Town, South Africa

The performance gap between customer experience leaders and runners-up is widening, with those on top being disproportionately rewarded. Gartner, Inc. said organizations must ignore three myths in order to achieve a superior customer experience.

There are many factors that make customer experience leaders successful, and many are not in dispute. “Organizations with superior customer experiences tend to appoint a leader, their executives are committed to the initiative and have a small dedicated team with 12 direct reports on average,” said Ed Thompson, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “They also involve a broad range of departments from marketing and sales, to supply chain, IT, R&D and HR.”

During Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, which is taking place in Cape Town through Wednesday, Gartner analysts discussed how organizations are using technology and innovations to drive customer experience improvements.

“We also know that leaders in such position are patient, build trust and honor privacy with their customers,” said Mr. Thompson. “They don’t invest and hope. They clearly focus on customer emotions and not just the numbers, and have a common sense of purpose. But that’s not enough to be the best in your industry.”

Above all, customer experience leaders need to beware of three common customer experience myths:

1.     Delight the Customer

Gartner research shows that the return on investment (ROI) of meeting customer expectations, and making their interactions effortless, is high. But, as organizations invest to exceed expectations to delight the customer, and therefore drive up customer loyalty and advocacy, the chances of gaining a positive ROI are far lower. “It’s not that investing to delight the customer doesn’t work, but its likelihood of working is lower,” said Mr. Thompson. “Many organizations are inconsistent in the delivery of their customer experience strategy. While they are aiming to delight in one part of the organization, they still require effort from the customer in another part. We recommend that organizations don’t delight, but rather focus on being effortless.”

2.     Focus on Innovation

With all the new possible technologies to use in the cause of a superior customer experience, many organizations strive to be unique before they have examined what is already working in their own industries, whether that be in their home country or in another country. Most innovation is just an imitation of an existing successful investment in a different geography or an adjacent industry. “Too many companies are overlooking the benefits of imitation. You don’t need to come up with everything yourself. We recommend organizations don’t only focus on innovation, but rather consider the benefits of imitation,” said Mr. Thompson.

3.     Correlate Data

The explosion of customer data that has become available at low cost over the last 20 years means many organizations are collecting it and sifting through it to seek correlations from which they can make investment decisions. Gartner research also shows that adding numerous channels and options to make things better for customers has the opposite effect — it makes the customer experience worse. Leading organizations are looking more closely at what causes customers to make choices, and focusing on what jobs the customer is trying to get done.

“Organizations are better served by understanding what customers are trying to achieve rather than monitoring demographics or psychographic information,” said Ed Thompson. He pointed out that Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen’s paper, tries to help people address their jobs to be done, sparking an interest by customer experience leaders in really understanding what the customer hopes to achieve.

“Rather than just looking at studying customer data, you need to examine the needs that arise during your customer’s lives. We recommend that you don’t correlate — but understand the jobs to be done,” added Mr. Thompson. “All three of these common myths are overrated. The most successful companies avoid overinvesting in these directions, and you do not want to do it either.”

About Gartner Symposium/ITxpo

Additional analysis on driving digital business transformation will be presented during Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, the world's most important gathering of CIOs and other senior IT executives. IT executives rely on these events to gain insight into how their organizations can use IT to overcome business challenges and improve operational efficiency. Follow news and updates from the events on Twitter using #GartnerSYM.

Upcoming dates and locations for Gartner Symposium/ITxpo include:

October 14-18, 2018; Orlando, Florida

October 22-25, 2018; Sao Paulo, Brazil

October 29-November 1, 2018; Gold Coast, Australia

November 4-8, 2018; Barcelona, Spain

November 12-14, 2018; Tokyo Japan

November 13-16, 2018; Goa, India

March 4-6, 2019; Dubai

June 3-6, 2019; Toronto, Canada

About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT), is the world’s leading research and advisory company and a member of the S&P 500. We equip business leaders with indispensable insights, advice and tools to achieve their mission-critical priorities today and build the successful organizations of tomorrow.

Our unmatched combination of expert-led, practitioner-sourced and data-driven research steers clients toward the right decisions on the issues that matter most. We are a trusted advisor and objective resource for more than 15,000 organizations in more than 100 countries — across all major functions, in every industry and enterprise size.

To learn more about how we help decision makers fuel the future of business, visit gartner.com.

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