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London, UK: Organisations around the world are failing to implement effective digital strategies. As a result their customer experience (CX) solutions are becoming disjointed, and digital is not displacing traditional phone interactions at the speed that their customers are demanding.

That’s according to new research published today by Dimension Data in the 20th anniversary edition of its Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report[1]. This year, 1,351 organisations across 80 countries in Asia Pacific, Australia, the Americas, Middle East & Africa, and Europe contributed to the research, with 426 of those being Europe-based.

Less than 8%[2] of the European organisations polled said that they had an optimised strategy for digital business in place, while over half (51%) reported they don’t have a plan at all, or are at best, in the process of developing one.

The top factor driving digital transformation for European organisations is improving CX, followed by customer demands for digital. Over 82% of European organisations report an uplift in revenue as a result of improved CX, while 77% report cost savings. Yet, just 41% of the European organisations polled have appointed a board level executive who is responsible for customer experiences, and organisational disconnects mean digital solution functionality is not meeting customer requirements.

Instead, high performing companies that have committed to the opportunity created by the digital revolution are outpacing established market leaders. The research shows top quartile organisations are performing up to ten times better than their counterparts.

Joe Manuele, Dimension Data’s Group Executive - CX and Collaboration said: “The world has formed a digital skin and business, service, technology and commercial models have changed forever. However, organisations are strategically challenged to keep pace with customer behaviour.”

Manuele adds that the absence of a connected digital strategy means that even when digital solutions are available, the customer is frequently not even aware of their existence. “The digital dilemma is deepening, and organisations need to choose a path between digital crisis or redemption.”

Meanwhile, emerging CX robotics is also creating a new reality. Virtual assistant (chat bots) was voted a top channel growth focus for 2017, and IoT deployments are set to more than double in Europe. It demands a new approach.

Jim Barrett, General Manager, Workspaces for Tomorrow at Dimension Data UKI said: “Pioneers of the digital age have reimagined business models and processes that have changed customer behaviour, and the choices organisations make with their CX and digital strategies will define the future success of their organisation,” he said.

Other interesting highlights in the 2017 Global CX Benchmarking Report are:

· CX was voted by 77% of European participants as a competitive differentiator, and is the most important strategic indicator of performance.

· 77% of European research participants forecast increases in assisted-service volumes; 69% a rise in fully automated digital contacts; and 59% anticipate overall interactions to grow.

· Customers have a choice of nine channels with which to engage with organisations - now the norm in organisations. This number will rise to 10 by 2018.

· Connected customer journeys via omnichannel (integrated) solutions is the top technology trend for 2017. Omnichannel solutions, alongside customer analytics, was listed as the top factors to reshape CX capability in the next five years.

Sheila McGee-Smith of McGee-Smith Analytics, L.L.C said: “The annual release of the Dimension Data Global CX Benchmarking Report is a highly-anticipated event in the customer experience world. For 20 years now, it has offered the definitive global view of how technology is changing CX for both customers and companies. With the current explosion of devices and interaction channels, its insights are more valuable than ever for companies seeking to understand how to plan their next CX moves.”