Many companies have increased CX investments, expanding existing platforms and adding new ones, yet customer satisfaction continues to fall.

Customer satisfaction has fallen to its lowest level in 17 years, according to an ACSI report. The report says that continuing decline is strongly correlated to lower consumer spending with brands with poor CSAT performance.

Below are four reasons technology investments are failing to add to a company’s ROI.

Failure to Involve All Departments

“Simply throwing money at CX is never enough,” said Rebecca Gutner, Brandwatch senior vice president of CX. “To create a truly remarkable customer experience, companies must assess and evolve their entire process end-to-end. The emphasis on CX must be present culturally throughout the entirety of your company. It needs to be at your organization’s core — a critical part of its DNA.”

This means looking not just at traditional client-facing teams, such as customer success, customer services and customer support, but at all teams and departments across the company, including product, marketing, finance and leadership. This way, CX becomes a pillar in and of itself that becomes more of an organizational value than a practice.

Some technologies have advanced to incorporate some of these additional touchpoints, like product Net Promoter Score (NPS) or executive engagement, Gutner said. “Without customer-focused incentive structures holding these adjacent teams accountable, the advancements of these technologies and touchpoints are often for naught. To create truly remarkable CX, companies must align their entire practice — touchpoints, teams and incentives — along their desired customer journey so that teams win when customers are made successful.”

Related Article: Drive Growth By Improving Your Customer Experience Strategy

Rushing to Implement CX Solutions

“It’s no surprise that CX investments are going up while customer satisfaction is falling. For over a decade, the word has been out that customers — and employees — will leave you for the company that provides the better experience,” said Derek Adams, senior product marketing manager at WalkMe.

But in the race to capitalize on this trend, contact center vendors prized time-to-market over user experience design, which is time-consuming to do correctly, Adams added. “This resulted in some great CX functionality obscured by confusing interfaces and endless possibilities for customization, ultimately resulting in more frustrating user experiences.”

The rush-to-market problem often results in two primary issues that hurt CX:

  • Failing to properly onboard new technology, which can lead to a poor initial experience, resulting in a lost customer.

  • Opting for inflexible technology that fails to adapt to market changes.

Related Article: The ROI of Investing in Customer Service Training

Conflating Customer Satisfaction With CX

Customer satisfaction and CX are related, but different.

“Though most businesses are good at following best practices that impart a seamless CX, it is usually confused with customer satisfaction,” said Brian David Crane, CallerSmart founder. “Satisfaction is an end product that is variable, which means that a customer who is satisfied with a buying experience doesn't mean the same tomorrow.”

To sustain goodwill and maintain a positive correlation with the brand for the long term, brands should be proactive in adapting to changing behaviors and trends, understanding pain points, and implementing solutions that deliver an increasingly personal experience, according to Crane.

A related issue is lack of technological and human integration, according to Crane. “Many businesses assume technology is the answer to all problems regarding CX. Simply automating processes does not lead to better CX. Nothing can be a substitute for human interaction. AI and machine learning can only be effective if integrated with human interactions and relationship building.”

Related Article: As Economic Headwinds Gather, Make Customer Experience Excellent

Relying on Incomplete Information

Many companies rely on existing information to build AI-based solutions, but that information may be incomplete, said Piergiorgio Vittori, CEO of Spitch.ai.

“For example, companies use CRM data, internal employee knowledge or perhaps provider’s claimed expertise related to a specific vertical or business use case,” Vittori said. While this can help to solve some issues at the outset, this approach may not be flexible enough to include other data.

“In many cases, a complete redesign of the solution is required,” Vittori said. “In other situations, the accuracy level is not high enough for the system to perform to its expected potential. Initial design mistakes impose a heavy future cost, and expected ROI is not reached or the project is abandoned prior to reaching break-even.”

Final Thoughts on CX Investments Not Adding to ROI

Across several disciplines, not just CX, technology, especially newer technology, is too often seen as a silver bullet that will immediately or soon add to ROI simply by deploying it.

But as many dotcom companies learned in the “dotbomb” crash of the early 2000s, and other companies have learned since (and some are still learning), simply adding technology will not add to ROI if the right strategies aren’t followed before, during and after implementation.