Bring Data-Driven Insights Into Customer Experience Budgeting

As a customer experience professional, you’re likely well-versed in your organization’s customer experience goals, budgeting processes, strengths, and weaknesses. But you might wonder what peers at other companies are doing, thinking and where they’re investing. A recent ContactBabel report provides a window—complete with data—into these industry trends and opinions.

In “The US Customer Experience Decision-Makers’ Guide 2018,” ContactBabel, the leading analyst firm for the contact center market, surveyed 234 senior customer experience professionals from a range of industries. The firm explored several topics, including investment, technology, omnichannel and more. And the resulting analysis is fascinating from multiple standpoints, most interestingly the trends and technologies taking hold and attracting resources.

Beyond revealing “what” professionals are doing and thinking, the survey gives valuable cross-industry context into budgeting and investment planning processes. And there a few ways you can use the information covered in the report in your budgeting process:

  • Gain insights into how your areas of investment compare to others in your industry
  • Identify areas of potential new or expanded investments
  • Keep pace—or set the pace—with peers
  • Review how companies of a similar size as yours focus their investments

Customer Experience Improvement Goals—By the Numbers

Companies view improving customer experience as important, and the report revealed there is a wide variety of improvement goals. Your company’s key goal might be to improve cross-sell and up-sell numbers, while another company puts a priority on increasing customer retention rates or lowering customer service costs.

ContactBabel asked respondents to rank their four top customer experience improvement goals. At 40%, increased retention was the top goal; lower costs came in at 23% and winning new customers ranked at 22%. Overall, the numbers show a somewhat even spread of rankings across all options.


Seventy-seven percent of companies in the report ranked retention as first or second priorities, while lower costs and higher up-sell and cross-sell rates ranked first or second for fewer than 40% of respondents. When we look at the numbers by industry, some interesting differences emerge that could help you create a budget.



Looking at the data by industry segments reveals a more nuanced picture. In finance, 100% of respondents point to cross-selling and up-selling as their top goals. That aim ranks highly for transport and travel, too. But it’s just a blip in the numbers for the retail industry.

ContactBabel notes that these differences point to the diverse roles of customer experience by industry. For example, in finance, product offerings tend to be quite similar across competitors; customer experience is not only one of the few possible differentiators—it’s also a top sales channel. As you develop a budget that suits your goals, refer to this chart to understand what your peers are doing.

Customer Experience Budget and Investment Revelations by Channel

Digging deeper into the numbers, we can peek at the channels that companies choose to make the focus of their customer experience investments. First, consider the sources of inbound interactions by channel overall. The top four are:

  • Live agent telephone: 67.8%
  • Email: 13.1%
  • Self-service telephone: 10.2%
  • Webchat: 5.3%

Now, let’s review where companies expect to invest by industry. The numbers show that—across most industries—digital forms of customer experience are a top investment focus. Only three industries— medical, outsourcing and insurance—list telephone at a higher level of investment than digital.


ContactBabel notes that these high investments in digital compared to telephony don’t match the sources of most inbound interactions today. In fact, respondents stated that digital channels account for 20% of inbound interactions, while telephony accounts for 78%.

Respondents expect this to change in the near future—with more than half reporting that they anticipate an increase in web chat over the next 12 months. Plus, 30% anticipate a decrease in telephone as a source of inbound contacts over that same time.

Applying the Data to Your Budget Process

Customer experience is an important differentiator across industries—and it’s an area where customer expectations are changing quickly. Knowing where customer experience professionals within and outside of your industry take the field helps you set priorities—and keeps your company ahead of the pack. The numbers covered in this article are just a taste of the depth of information presented in the ContactBabel report. Download “The US Customer Experience Decision-Makers’ Guide 2018” to use it in your budget processes.