Today’s clients are interacting with your company through multiple channels such as your website, your Facebook page, your loyalty program or any number of other ways. And the ways are increasing every year as technology advances, right along with customer expectations right too.

So it’s important to create a consistent customer experience across every channel now and for the future. According to Forrester research the customer experience will be more important than price in determining customer purchases and customer retention by the year 2020. Customer brand relationships will require companies to deliver personalized, relevant experiences that empower customer behavior based upon them receiving the right message, at the right time, in the right place.

Are companies prepared to do that? Apparently not so much. A recent study indicates that businesses are facing multiple challenges on the customer experience front. According to the recent report: Real-Time Analytics: The Key to Unlocking Customer Insights and Driving the Customer Experience from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, SAS, Intel, and Accenture Applied Intelligence, companies (500 global business leaders took part in the survey) are facing several difficulties to deliver real-time, digital customer interactions while maximizing the use of related data.

Here’s a quick glance at 5 important challenges highlighted by the report:

  • Almost 75% of respondents acknowledge it is very important to seamlessly access and use all data related to customer activity. Yet only 18% believe their organizations have the capabilities to do so.
  • Over 80% of participants feel it’s very important for their organizations to translate data into actionable insights, however only 22% said their companies successfully provide these insights in a timely manner.
  • While 60% of respondents said their businesses currently have the ability to deliver real-time customer interactions across touch points and devices, only 16% of them believe their organizations are very effective at doing this. And 30% actually believe their companies are not effective at doing this.
  • The biggest customer analytics issues cited by business leaders were legacy systems (36%), data silos (33%), organizational silos (29%), and multichannel complexities (26%).
  • The top two drivers for increased investment in real-time analytics included the ability to scale customer-centered decisions and actions across business functions (69%) and deliver contextual engagements across the customer journey (62%).

Most businesses can probably relate to the findings above. Companies today utilize multiple software platforms such as a POS system, a CRM, a CMS, or other systems that help them run their businesses. But their value comes from being integrated in a way that allows a company to provide a seamless and exceptional customer experience.

This is where many companies struggle in their ability to ensure that their customers are getting everything they should from them. For example, a client, who is in your CRM provides a referral. This action needs to recognized by your loyalty program so the customer is rewarded for this action. Another example requires your system to recognize past purchases by customers, so their post-purchases and future purchases with your company and brand are personalized and relevant to them.

Furthermore, your customer feedback tool definitely needs to be integrated with all your other platforms. The customer experience is supposed to be all about the customer right? Well the quickest way to find out how your company is delivering on their promise is through customer feedback. Your customers will let you know if they’re getting a consistent experience across each of your different touchpoints. Now, according to the survey report findings, the trick is to prioritize this data and turn it into actionable tactics that make your company more successful at providing the ultimate customer experience.