There’s no doubt that there are a plethora of resources available to help customer experience executives provide extraordinary opportunities and competitive advantage. But what challenges do they face? Consero investigated these issues in its Fall 2013 Customer Experience Data Survey.

Consero surveyed Fortune 1000 chief customer experience executives about issues related to departmental resources, cyber security and traditional and social media. The results show that while most companies are optimistic about the impact social media will have on their abilities to deliver improved customer relations, there are still many generational and security challenges to overcome. 

We spoke with Paul Mandell, Consero's founder and CEO about the results and what he found to be the most interesting. 

When asked what they anticipate will have a greater impact on the satisfaction of your customers In 2014, a majority of customer experience executives said social media over traditional media. Mandell found this to be a significant shift in how executives are finally embracing social media as an established channel through which to connect and engage with customers.

Despite confidence in social media's ability to deliver increased customer satisfaction, executives weren't shy about admitting there was a substantial generation gap in their information-sharing and data-collection efforts. To Mandell, these gaps are likely temporary because more millennials are entering the workforce and older workers are retiring. Still, it does speak to how different generations regard issues of online sharing and privacy. We know that millennials, on average, aren't as concerned with the amount of information companies collect about them than older online users. 

Unprepared for Social Media Risks

As excited as companies are about social media, they aren't as prepared to handle risks that may arise from social media. Mandell said that most organizations are unsure about what the impact of a rogue tweet, or dissatisfied employee can have on their brand. As such, they don't really know how to prepare, leaving them open and insecure. However, just as they eventually learned to adopt an active social media presence, best practices and strategies will evolve over time. 


A Focus on Employee Engagement

Perhaps most significant was the indication that companies haven't yet made the connection between employee engagement and customer satisfaction. When asked if their company sufficiently measures the alignment between its employees and customer loyalty, 77 percent said no. Mandell suggests companies take the time to learn what is happening internally because it can affect customer-facing interactions.

Lessons Learned & Looking Ahead

Overall, customer experience executives face a number of challenges when it comes to implementing strong, consistent and effective engagement that elicits strong customer satisfaction. Yet, they seem to be very aware, which as we know is half the battle. The other half is making in-roads so that information flows freely between internal and customer-facing employees, cyber security remains a priority and that customer experiences can be effectively managed and supported. To get there, companies will have to invest in the right technology while using data to make informed decisions about how to engage customers.