A new IBM sponsored survey of business professionals finds that while chief marketing officers (CMOs) and ecommerce leaders recognize mobile as critical to their business objectives, two-thirds of those same professionals, indicate they don't have a strong understanding of the mobile user experience.

With 89 percent of customers choosing to do business with a competitor, following a poor customer experience, businesses are turning to big data and digital analytics to better understand the omnichannel customer.

Mobile traffic continues to grow, with respondents attributing 19 percent of their total traffic to a mobile device. But businesses continue to struggle with providing a quality mobile experience, with 40 percent of companies agreeing that “delivering positive customer experiences is harder on mobile than the web.”For many companies, their answer to creating a mobile presence is simply adapting an existing website as opposed to building a mobile experience from the ground up, with 70 percent of respondents describing their multichannel experience for customers as “okay” or “poor.”As such, the top three most serious mobile issues include bad navigation/poor “findabilty” screen-sizing issues, and form-filling problems.

The survey titled, “Reducing Customer Struggle 2013,”was conducted for IBM by Econsultancy and surveyed more than 500 business professionals globally, across a variety of sectors, including retail, financial services, travel, and customer services. While mobile stood out as a key focus for many companies, the survey found that wider customer experience challenges remain, both in terms of understanding customer struggle and also addressing pain points. Seven percent of companies indicate they have an “excellent” understanding of the overall online customer experience, a three point increase over 2012. Yet a further 78 percent say their company has a “good” or “okay” understanding. Specifically, companies understand how customers behave during the initial awareness stages of the sales funnel, but still lack understanding around the purchase stages and the reasons behind cart abandonment.


Additional results from the survey include:


Offline & Digital Integration Still Lacking:

When it comes to the multichannel experience, only 4 percent of respondents said they provide an “excellent” experience. The majority of companies polled referred to their multichannel experience as okay or poor. Offline and online integration, while important, is still a struggle for most businesses. When it comes to integrating offline and online channels, most companies focus on basic functionality such as including information about offline locations, contact details and opening hours on their website. Other ways of integrating offline and online channels include establishing a social presence for offline products or services and mobile or local search engine optimization. When asked if offline parts of the business have visibility into individual customer engagement via digital channels, only 7 percent of respondents said, “very much so.”


Marketing & eCommerce Professionals Increase Investment in Online Channels

73 percent of companies surveyed plan to increase investment in online channels this year.  With a staggering 6.9 billion mobile subscriptions globally, another 72 percent of respondents expect to invest more in mobile channels. Social is also seeing gains, with 53 percent of companies expecting to increase investment in this channel as well. On the other hand, more than two-thirds of respondents indicated they either plan to decrease or maintain the same level of investment in offline channels such as stores, shops and branches.


Big Data, Analytics and Digital Experience (session) Replay Provide Best Answers for Improving Customer Experience:

Most companies point to big data as the key to understanding the customer experience. Further, three in five companies consider digital experience (session) replay as very effective, however, only a quarter of companies use this method. This same method is also considered the best tool to identify problems or issues with the digital experience, with the proportion of organizations saying session replay is very effective, an increase of 10 percent over 2012’s survey.  When it comes to social media, while most respondents consider social listening to be ineffective, at the same time, respondents do agree social gives insight “into what is working and what is not.”

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