Companies struggle to engage customers

10 May 2012

NEW YORK: Less than 10% of US companies think they are genuinely "customer-centric" in their strategy and activities, new analysis has shown.

The Temkin Group, a consultancy, polled 255 representatives of firms with revenues topping $500m, and found that just 7% of the panel believed the customer experience they provided was superior to all of their rivals.

A further 28% placed performance levels "considerably above" the industry average, while 30% "slightly" improved on the norm, and 23% fell into line with typical standards for their sector.

Some 11% of operators rated their performance across shopper touchpoints as "slightly" lower than their category, and 2% were "considerably below" this benchmark.

Looking ahead three years, 10% of businesses wanted to become cross-industry leaders in this area, and 49% hoped to assume a similar status within their specific market.

Of the rest, 28% set the goal of being "considerably above average" measured against their direct competitors, 8% wished to "slightly" better the opposition and 4% were seeking to match the norm.

"We're still in the early stages of evolution for the entire field of customer experience management. Companies are ambitious to improve and we are seeing some companies build up the professional discipline to succeed," Bruce Temkin, managing partner of the Temkin Group, said.

Within the overall figures, only a third of enterprises had developed the necessary brand values and employee engagement to become truly "customer-centric", the report added.

Six in ten corporations had a named senior executive who was heading up their customer experience efforts, with between six and eight staff members working in this discipline in all.

Nearly 80% of the brand owners currently using "voice of the customer" schemes to regularly track sentiment among buyers reported that they had delivered positive business results.

A 56% majority of brand owners also used a Net Promoter Score (NPS), a metric derived by subtracting the number of brand detractors from its advocates to determine recommendation levels.

This total had grown from 49% in an equivalent study published last year by the Temkin Group. Other recent research using this tool found Amazon, USAA and Trader Joes posted very strong NPS results.

Data sourced from The Temkin Group; additional content by Warc staff