Decoding implications of the modern (digital) Customer Experience Economy

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It’s hard to find a single event which so significantly shifted customer experiences from traditional to digital as Covid.

And yet over two and a half years on from the onset of widespread lockdowns, a balance between digital and real world brand experiences has yet to be truly re-established in many organisations.

One recent survey has found that almost three-quarters of senior UK marketers know they are falling behind in delivering a truly omnichannel experience for customers. While this may be mostly relevant for retail brands when it comes to the marriage of online and offline experiences, we stand at an intersection point when it comes to blending the digital and ‘real’ worlds in almost every sector.

Finding that elusive sweet spot for delivering spot-on CX is going to be a very individual journey for each different brand. Everyone needs to factor in its own brand purpose, its heritage and its customers’ varied expectations of service delivery. This is why we conducted our own research looking at people’s ranked top priorities in customer service across the full spectrum of sectors.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given current economic forces, price proved to be the most popular choice of priority for most customers – 17% across the board considered this to be their main requirement for brands to focus on. However, some 49% of consumers cited brands’ commitment to community impact, sustainability and inclusion as among their top three business focus areas, while almost a third (31%) still see a gap when it comes to business’ focus on innovation in service, improving customer service, accessibility and efficiency.

We also asked respondents to rank the industries with the best digital customer experience. The sectors that shone proved to be digital-native or the disrupted: online retail, supermarkets, and high street retailers. Propping up the bottom of the pile were government services, public health services and internet services such as Facebook, Spotify and Netflix.

It’s becoming increasingly hard to ignore that good service across all customer interaction points really matters when it comes to forging new customer connections, meeting and beating expectations and keeping hold of valued customers long-term. And the issue of CX – digital, physical or a blend of the two – touches on almost every part of a business’ operations. While it may be somewhat easy for businesses to dismiss findings that customers are highly price sensitive and motivated, especially at a time when inflation and costs-of-living are climbing ever higher, it is also hard to deny that the companies which typically respond to these CX issues are ranking highly when it comes to getting the customer experience right, and winning people over in the long term.

If the recent years have taught us anything, it’s that a successful CX strategy is an adaptive one. Nothing stays static in the current world – while a business may have its own plans well rooted and established, the actions of a competitor can quickly shift customer expectations on what is possible or ideal. Ensuring that the organisational approach to CX is regularly reviewed and tested against incoming innovations, market developments, and of course customer needs and desires, is quickly becoming the baseline need for those brands who are determined to fight against endless customer churn. Taking a good, objective look at existing CX across digital and traditional touchpoints, and keeping an open mind at how operations across the board can find new ways to meet and keep the all-important customer satisfied. This may be a more complex challenge now across new digital and emerging channels, but with choppy economic waters ahead it may prove the most effective way for businesses to maintain their relevance in the eyes of the buyer.

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