5 Customer Experience Trends and Key Actions for Long-Term Success
Undoubtedly, excellent customer experience (CX) is a brand differentiator, and a primary reason people buy and refer brands. Since customer needs are changing rapidly, it’s essential to understand CX trends and implement best practices to gain and sustain a long-term competitive advantage.
1. Leverage Voice of Customer (VoC) In Every Business Decision
Many business leaders rely solely on surveys to understand what customers think and feel. Going forward, this will not be enough. Aggregating and centralizing all sources of feedback combined with surveys is the new game-changer. Examples of where you can get a holistic perspective of customer pain points, perceptions, and expectations include:
- Website contact forms
- Interviews (online and in-person)
- Social media
- Ratings and Reviews (on your site & external rating pages)
- Website visitor behavior analytics
- Customer care call data
- Chat logs
VoC analytics is a critical job function, so either assign the role in your organization to someone who has the right skill sets or outsource the work.
2. Augment Business Metrics and Key Performance Indicators
The commonly used Net Promoter Score (NPS) is worth measuring, especially for companies beginning their CX practice. Knowing how likely someone will recommend a brand provides good insights. However, it’s not sufficient as a single measurement of customer success. Understanding Level of Effort (LoE) and Sentiment ratings, for example, are increasing in importance to gauge WHY people may buy again, tell others, or leave a bad review.
3. Higher Digital Adoption with Caution
Technology is changing the way we live and service customers. Machine learning algorithms enable predictive analytics and tracking what influences customer satisfaction and business results. Digital solutions are getting more sophisticated to help detect specific events in customer journeys and leverage scores to forecast revenue and retention, making ROI calculations more reliable. Yet, be mindful not to lose the human touch. Companies that win customer hearts and wallets are the ones that strengthen relationships and trust, not replace them fully with automation.
4. A Rise in Customer Experience Officer (CXO) Roles
Organization charts have been expanding to include Customer Experience leadership at the top. McDonalds, for example, hired its first CXO, Manu Steijaert, to advocate for customers in every business decision across the customer journey. Similarly, Walmart hired Janey Whiteside, Volkswagen appointed Dr. Markus Kleimann, and additional companies are following the path. Regardless of where the trend goes, customer experience needs to be championed at all company levels, and a shared measurable goal for front line staff, back-office personnel, customer service agents, and other cross-functional roles.
5. Closer Partnerships Between Customer Experience and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Departments
It’s no secret that when a workforce feels valued, appreciated, and accepted, customers, see and feel it too. One fuels the other, which is why understanding the behaviors behind empathy, and coaching people to “put themselves in the customer’s shoes” is so important. When you consider best-in-class company cultures, they have in common a clear focus on advancing people’s emotional intelligence and soft skills, such as active listening. Leaders are also investing in programs to educate and encourage fairness, inclusion, and diversity of thought. It’s not just nice to do but also leads to better business outcomes.
According to research:
- Diverse companies are 70 percent more likely to capture new markets.
- Compared to individual decision-makers, diverse teams make better decisions 87 percent of the time.
- Boston Consulting Group surveyed 1,700 companies and found that companies with above-average total diversity had 19 percent higher innovation revenues on average.
What workplace trends would you add to the list?
While none of us can predict 100% what the future will bring, one thing is for sure: people work for and buy from brands that solve real needs in personalized ways. So, stay on top of the latest trends and figures. Take action because what you do today impacts your success tomorrow.