Are Customers Having the Experience You Think They’re Having?

Customer experiences matter for brands. But do the experiences we’re building match up to our perceptions of them? In recent Adobe research studies, we talked to over 100 C-suite executives in the U.S. and over 1,000 US consumers, and we found a huge gap between the experience companies think they’re offering and the one consumers feel they’re getting.

The executives we surveyed were wildly optimistic about their customers’ experiences. More than three-quarters gave themselves a solid pat on the back, saying they were either providing a seamless customer experience that’s “well above average” (27 percent) or “above average” (53 percent). Fifty-five percent of respondents said they are “ahead of their industry peers” in customer experiences, and another 24 percent declared that they were “way ahead.”

Consumers, on the other hand, see a lot of room for improvement. Only 39 percent of them said that companies are doing a good job ensuring that they see products and services that are interesting and relevant to them across all their devices. Millennial consumers were more pleased with their experiences—52 percent gave a positive response—but these numbers show that there’s still huge room for improvement in customer experiences.

Even Optimistic Execs Admit Integration Is Lacking

It’s clear that U.S. executives need a better understanding of the customer experiences they’re providing. Consumers’ rapid shift to digital has had a significant impact on business, and executives realize there are years of work ahead to get up to speed. Of the executives we surveyed, 96 percent said their company’s shift to digital has impacted their business —for 52 percent of them, the shift has had a “major impact.” And 94 percent anticipate feeling the effects for the next five years.

As executives work through these seismic changes, they also agree that integration remains a key concern. While 84 percent said that integrated solutions are key to their ability to provide a seamless customer experience, this was also a major roadblock. Two-thirds (65 percent) said lack of integration between technologies was a major barrier to their digital transformation. And only 44 percent reported that the various technology solutions they use to provide a customer experience are fully integrated. Over half (52 percent) said their customer experience technology is only “somewhat integrated.”

Looking Forward

Our studies suggest that there’s a long road before consumer experiences catch up with the optimistic vision among executives. One of the most important steps to getting there is to improve the integration of the kinds of tech that can deliver great, seamless customer experiences. For the latest on how we’re reshaping content, data and intelligence tools so brands can transform into Experience Businesses, read here.

Ryan Dietzen, Analyst, Marketing Insights and Operations

As Editor-in-Chief of the Adobe Digital Insights team, Ryan provides primary research support to the ADI and Corporate PR teams. His focus is on answering the ‘whys’ behind consumer behavior, and to add context to the analytical insights the ADI team generates from the Adobe Marketing Cloud.

Ryan Dietzen, Analyst, Marketing Insights and Operations