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GUEST COMMENT The field of customer experience (CX) is booming

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The concept of CX is nothing new. However, before Covid-19, when individuals talked about CX in practice, they referred to improving a customer’s experience at marketing and sales touchpoints along their journey. When this was done well by the brand in the past, it meant that, for example, customers could expect faster checkout times within minimum effort or a personalised onboarding routine when joining a new bank. In short, any CX improvements resulted in more significant sales, more customers and stronger loyalty to a brand.

But, while CX is still important today, most organisations use its foundations, meaning that adhering to the original concept is not enough to grow or differentiate your brand. Research from PwC shows that Covid-19 drove more consumers to shop online and be more protective of their data. This research also suggests that this kind of behaviour will continue in the future, meaning that Covid-19 has accelerated customers’ expectations.

In this way, once a customer’s experience of omnichannel digital services grows, they will expect similar, intuitive experiences from every brand. So, while traditional CX methods have become necessary for any brand’s survival in a post-Covid-19 world, they are not enough to help you stand out. This is demonstrated by a study that showed that some companies had experienced poor or stagnant growth when only focusing on traditional CX improvements.

Moreover, in a digital world of continually changing expectations, customers will not only compare your brand with a similar one in your industry. They could also compare the experience you offer with one offered by another business in a completely different market. More importantly, data from Zendesk also highlights that the pandemic has made customers less lenient as 60% of them will leave a brand after just one bad experience. Another AI study also demonstrated that even established brands like Apple are not safe from a customer’s negative sentiment.

On the other hand, brands that have continued to experience a CX boom have used technology to tap into their customer’s data to develop experiences that cater to customers’ unmet needs. As a result, they have embarked on a digital transformation journey that starts and ends with customers in mind. This means changing their mindset, culture and business processes according to what customers want.

From CX to putting extraordinary experiences before products or services

According to Data Bridge, the CX software platform industry will reach approximately $43.70 billion from 2021 to 2028. So, it’s no surprise that significant market leaders such as Qualtrics, an experience management platform, continue to achieve profitable quarters. After acquiring Clarabridge, an AI-focused experience management service, in late 2021, Qualtrics stated that its revenue in that quarter went beyond Wall Street’s expectations showing that the management of CX is still a big priority for companies. Additionally, customer spending for this platform increased from 125% in Q4 2020 to 128% in Q4 2021, even with the effects of the pandemic.

Furthermore, since its impressive market debut in 2019, Medallia, another experience management platform, recently purchased Thunderhead, a business that specialises in customer journey coordination and real-time interaction management. The value of this partnership is also supported by research from Accenture, which stated that 61% of businesses surveyed said that their customers are influenced by real-time, hyper-relevant and dynamic experiences that take place across all industries.

In addition, customer-centric companies have moved beyond simply focusing on touchpoints by using technology to analyse existing customer data from various parts of the organisation to adapt to a customer’s changing needs. For example, Starling Bank changed its digital processes in line with customer feedback during the pandemic so that customers could still achieve the outcomes they wanted during a crisis.

While other digital banks experienced significant losses during the pandemic, Starling Bank is expected to have its first full year of profitability in 2022. This is because it listened to and acted upon customer data showing that being more human and emotionally engaging still counts. Furthermore, it showed that Starling Bank changed its approach in line with the needs of customers going through a pandemic and adapted to this new market with ease. In this way, customers remembered the experience with Starling Bank as they added real value to their lives.

Similarly, Lush uses technology to create innovative experiences for its customers globally while never compromising its ethical and sustainable values. As a result, Lush can create a differentiated experience for its customers as it stands for a more significant issue than its products and services. This customer demand for a bigger purpose is reinforced by another Accenture report which states that 8 out of 10 customers said that purpose is as important to them as CX.

Lush has demonstrated this purpose through services like its Lush Lens, which uses machine learning to remove the need for product packing for its naked range. Legally, all retailers are required to provide their customers with instructions and ingredients for a beauty product. The Lush Lens app removed the need for packing as it allows customers to scan products for the list of ingredients and instructions on use.

How can you become more experience-centric in a digital world?

Your customers’ expectations are continually changing, so it will continue to shift beyond Covid-19. To deliver an outstanding experience, in the first instance, brands need to understand their customers’ unmet needs in the first instance. Once they gather data on this need and analyse it, they can harness the insights gained to tailor unique solutions to this issue. Next, creating and delivering an experience requires a team effort meaning that CEOs and departments such as HR, operations, product development, strategy and technology can work together to serve customers. In this way, your business experiences a cultural transformation where it changes its processes, mindset and the way it does business. In other words, every team member is continuously thinking about new ways to solve customer problems and thinking about new ways to delight them. Lastly, your business needs to operate in an agile, customer-centric way that can quickly adapt to changes in the market. Having an agile mindset will allow your employees to continue collaborating and staying flexible in their business approach to deliver real value for customers and achieve growth through innovation.


Alon Ghelber, chief marketing officer at Revuze

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