As the world comes to live with COVID, it is worth looking ahead at how customer behavior has changed and how customer experience (CX) leaders can best anticipate the challenges to come in 2022.
COVID accelerated digital transformation trends already taking place in the market. Enterprise and smaller brands alike must prepare accordingly for the post-pandemic era and the opportunities that will present themselves.
Our three CX predictions for 2022 revolve around accessing caches of data, collecting appropriate additional customer data, and then integrating that data into the operating systems that run organizations.
1) Pandemic Pivots
The focus on digital transformation has lowered the barrier to entry for new products and services to enter the market more easily, resulting in a more equitable marketplace. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) products have been especially successful as other companies emerge to help them grow — register legal standing, create a web presence, and distribute products to partners or retail locations.
Businesses losing market share need to change how they interact with customers due to this transformation. Another indicator: Brand loyalty decreased with 75% of consumers trying a new shopping behavior since COVID started. This includes trying new brands, new retailers, and new products.
CX leaders should not expect to operate in a pre-pandemic world. They need to pivot based on these new behaviors. At Alchemer, we have been strategizing with customers about how to retain and grow their market share.
- Enterprise businesses: Our enterprise customers are leveraging their size, scale, and technology to accelerate the need to meet their customer’s evolving experience needs. Enterprise businesses should lean into their strengths: Ensure a robust tech stack with functioning integrations, regular reporting to uncover insights, and enough question types to produce the nuanced response you need.
- Mid-sized to small businesses: Newer or emerging businesses have an opportunity to lean into their nimble nature and expand market share at a time when incumbents are vulnerable, without the weight of an enterprise organization. Alchemer helps small businesses, research firms, and small consultancy firms start on a tool they can use to collect valuable data without needing developer or data analysis skills.
2) Surveys as Step One
Customer experience programs extend far more than surveys. Naturally, surveys will always play a part in customer experience — they allow researchers to benchmark performance, capture post-purchase feedback, and develop a data cache.
In 2022, CX programs will grow more comprehensive in scope. Executives have been trying (and largely failing) to integrate customer feedback in a meaningful and profitable way — in a way that allows for quick customer interaction and issue resolution, not just data collection.
The data needs to be leveraged at multiple points of the business — for instance, CX data should be wired to drive the customer experience. Hiding data in dashboard holds you back from being able to take action quickly.
That real-time relationship building has been difficult or impossible in the past, but no longer. Technical advances will allow CX managers to contribute meaningfully to relationships in real-time. CX has collected numerous potential data sets and wise IT and Operations employees will recognize this data as the treasure trove it truly is:
- Internal customer behaviors, transactions, and profiles.
- Third-party data on customer attitudes, purchase preferences, and digital actions.
- Social media activity.
- Internet of Things (IoT) data collected in store or on location regarding customer health, usage, and sentiment.
- Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT).
The democratization of customer engagement will help accelerate the response to the changing nature of customer expectations.
3) 360-Degree Customer View
Collecting data is no longer enough; customers want to know what insights your CX platform can reveal.
This coming year will see CX leaders getting serious about an enhanced view of their customer — a 360-degree view of who their customers are, how they were attracted and converted to buy, and how the brand can deepen that relationship in order to create an advocate.
A 360-degree view should not be taken for granted. According to “Smoke and Mirrors: Why Customer Experience Programs Miss Their Mark,” a Forrester Consulting study conducted for Alchemer, not responding to customer feedback is not perceived as failure. In fact, it is accepted as the status quo. The study found that only 26% of all CX leaders could effectively collect, respond to, and analyze customer feedback.
At Alchemer, we work with customers to ensure that they get the 360-degree customer view they need. That view comes together in many ways, but customer feedback data — and how we distribute that data to other systems — is always the focus.
For instance, we build integrations to enable data from CX to be leveraged within marketing, sales, support, or product functions. We ensure our client can demonstrate broad trends with data, while also dive deep into any nuance or individual respondent.
While ensuring a 360-degree view, find ways to engage the customer across the business to enhance their experience. This allows organizations to address individual customer needs while analyzing macro trends.
More CX Predictions for 2022
These and other ways for CX to help drive return-on-investment will be a key trend for 2022. Our discipline is evolving, and I am proud to be at the forefront of that growth with the innovative business leaders who make up Alchemer’s growing customer base.
Download Alchemer’s full list of 2022 CX Predictions: https://info.alchemer.com/en/cx-predictions-2022