Companies Set to Increase CEM Investments This Year

As customer experience management becomes the norm rather than the exception, spending on personnel and vendors will see an uptick this year, according to findings from two studies from Temkin Research.

Of those surveyed, 77 percent of large companies said that they planned to spend more on customer experience in 2013 than they did in 2012. Additionally, 53 percent of large companies indicated that their goal is to offer the best customer experience in their industry within the next three years.

The research found that text analytics is set for a big boost in terms of spending by enterprises. Thirty percent of respondents surveyed from companies that had $500 million or more in annual revenues said that they plan to up their spending on text analytics, versus just 4 percent that expect to decrease it. Voice of the customer software was another area expected to benefit from increased spending.

"The biggest area of investment that we found is in text analytics," says Bruce Temkin, author of the reports and managing partner of Temkin Research. "Those are companies like Clarabridge, IBM, and Intensity. This is analyzing unstructured feedback, such as comments on surveys."

Additionally, Temkin's research found that 46 percent of companies expect to hire more staff for their customer experience efforts in 2013, up from 40 percent in 2012. Only 5 percent of those surveyed expected to decrease their customer experience staffing levels this year. Moreover, 54 percent of customer experience professionals believed that their company would spend more on customer experience this year than it did in 2012, compared with 53 percent in 2012.

"I think that the hiring of more employees is indicative of activity," says Temkin. "The increased activity also includes investing more in vendors, and putting more of an emphasis on some of companies' internal activities."

Of those surveyed, 78 percent of large companies said that they expected to put more work into their Web efforts this year, and 68 percent plan to increase their focus on mobile solutions.

"[As an example], there are mobile apps that companies can use for comparison shopping. A retailer might have a customer come into their shop but they're out of inventory," says Temkin. "The customer can look at the QR code and order the product online right from the store using [her] mobile device, or get more information from a product there while [she's] at the store."

In addition, while 64 percent of large companies think that their phone agent experiences are good or excellent, only 18 percent felt that way about their cross-channel experiences, and just 27 percent rated their mobile experiences as good or excellent.

"The cross channel experience continues to be a place that falls behind in terms of where companies are or where they want to be and where they're actually going to put more focus," Temkin says. "It's going to be a place where it's going to be hard to figure out who owns that; there's no clear owner. In the last couple of years we've found that companies have a large ambition for the cross channel experience but haven't really figured out how to improve it that much."

More and more, customers are becoming attuned to good experiences, says Temkin, and they measure all their experiences against the best they've had.

"If you're a bank, it's not that customers are comparing you against other banks, it's that they're comparing you to Amazon," he says. "I think that consumers and even business customers are getting to the point where they're expecting even higher service and better experiences."