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More Than Half of Executives Seek to Protect Customer Care from Cost-Cutting

By Tracey E. Schelmetic May 01, 2023

Companies today engage in a lot of ongoing cost optimization, for good reason. Costs can quickly spiral out of control and eat into profits if they’re not well controlled. But should customer engagement efforts be on the cost-cutting block? According to a new study, the answer is “no.”

Research by Information Services Group (ISG) found that a majority of executives worldwide consider customer experience a top strategic priority that is off limits to cost optimization efforts. The global ISG Buyer Behavior Study, which surveyed more than 250 senior executives in February 2023, found 48 percent of respondents cite customer experience as extremely important to their organization’s strategic direction, and 53 percent say they intend to “completely protect” customer experience from cost optimization programs. The findings will be detailed at the ISG Xperience Summit, May 15–16, at the San Francisco Marriott Union Square in San Francisco. The event will also feature corporate leaders who will discuss strategies for driving customer loyalty and leveraging data to create differentiating experiences.

Experts suggest that it’s not enough to calculate what companies can save by trimming customer support efforts. Companies also need to calculate the value of missed opportunities that result from poor customer care.

“Enterprises have successfully created friction-free experiences that are consistent across physical and digital platforms. Now they’re challenged by their customers to not only maintain but exceed that experience,” said Sush Apshankar, practice lead, ISG Data Analytics and AI/ML, and co-host of the ISG Xperience Summit. “In an uncertain economy when cost-cutting is the norm, the fact that enterprises are protecting customer experience programs from cost optimization shows they understand that solid, long-term customer relationships are truly foundational for growth and success.”

The study also noted that 33 percent of respondents to the ISG study said they will protect environmental, social, and governance (ESG) programs from cost optimization, reinforcing the importance of corporate values.

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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