Organizations aren’t ready to deliver superior customer experiences, according to a report from Sprinklr and Harvard Business Review Analytic Services.

While 86 percent of respondents “strongly agree” that a superior customer experience is crucial to their organization’s success, only 34 percent of companies have the tools and skills needed to rise to the challenge.

Currently, the report, “Anchoring Customer Experience in the Social Experience,” shows that 42 percent of respondents believe that social media is “extremely important” and anchors successful customer experiences. Interestingly enough, the staggering statistic is that in three years that figure balloons to 75 percent.

Sprinklr and Harvard Business Review Analytic Services surveyed more than 600 managers and executives from some of the biggest companies in the world. The study found that leading companies have one crucial tactic in common: They integrate social media and customer experience management.

Businesses that can deliver comprehensive customers experiences will enjoy stronger growth and more dominant positions in their markets. What’s more, according to the American Enterprise Institute, 75 percent of today’s S&P 500 companies will be replaced by 2027.

The overarching theme of the report is this: Integrating social media with customer experience is the single most strategic investment your enterprise can make.

“This isn’t just a trend,” the report says. “It’s a global mandate for modern enterprises that want to drive value for their customers and revenue for their businesses. It will pay off in revenue, reduced costs, and improved risk management. Most importantly, it will help you reach customers across all touch points, setting your company ahead of competitors in an ever-changing marketplace. For these companies, customer experience isn’t just a service challenge; it’s a fundamental strategy for delivering value and gaining a competitive edge. And social media isn’t just a marketing tactic to check off their list; it’s a predominant form of communication that shapes how people think and what they buy.”

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

Leading-edge companies are breaking that pattern by spending heavily on customer experience and social media

Leaders in customer experience have more dominant market positions and post stronger revenue growth (compared to Follower and Laggard counterparts)

Social media is usually a part of marketing and communications, but it’s also touching other parts of the organization, including customer care and sales.

“When social media is fully integrated into the design of customer experiences, it starts to drive change and break down silos,” the report says. “Practically every business leader around the world believes that social media will play a significant role in the quality of customer experiences within a few years. But, only a fraction of companies say they have the skills and tools to deliver superior customer experiences … leading-edge businesses don’t see social media as simply a technology or inexpensive marketing channel. They realize that people are social and that social media needs to be front and center in the experiences they provide customers.”

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