2018 CX Trends And 2019 CX Resolutions
BY LISA BRINK – SENIOR DIRECTOR, CUSTOMER STRATEGY
As another year comes rapidly to a close, we wanted to take a step back and reflect on what 2018 meant for customer experience. What stood out? What was pivotal? And what must you resolve to do in the new year to make sure you’re gaining ground, rather than losing customers?
Here are the top CX trends we observed in 2018:
- Self-sufficiency was key for consumers this year. Consumers want to manage and resolve almost everything themselves through technology. The experience with the least friction and the easiest interface wins. This doesn’t mean that a human interaction isn’t important. In fact, it might be even more important—but only when it’s absolutely necessary.
- The CX expectation bar keeps rising with new and differentiated experiences. Newer and more progressive brands that aren’t saddled with infrastructure challenges are delivering interesting and unique experiences. Less nimble legacy brands are finding it harder to compete and meet the needs of customers who are quickly becoming accustomed to more elevated experiences.
- Disruption happens faster and closer to the top of the purchase funnel. Closely connected to #2, a much-loved brand is discarded more easily today than in prior years. Once a consumer engages in a novel shopping experience—and it delivers—brand switching becomes easier, especially for a commodity product.
- AI is here, but it hasn’t delivered all that was promised. Despite the buzz, AI is not the first step to creating better relationships with consumers. It’s an important step and it can improve experiences—but not before the hard work happens up front. AI is a great solution for automating an experience once it’s been tested and validated.
- Brick and mortar is not dead. Online and brick and mortar experiences are evolving in fascinating new ways as online brands recognize the unique value an in-store experience delivers. Take the Sleep Sherpa in Minneapolis, an e-mattress showroom where customers can test out a variety of mattress brands in person that are only sold online. The experience appeals to the many customers who still want to try a bed before they buy it, and for the seller, it reduces the chance of a return.
The ultimate experience in 2019 is one that gives consumers the experience they want, when and how they want it. And fast. As you ring in the new year, consider adopting these CX resolutions:
- Stay focused on addressing human needs and how you deliver them. Self-sufficiency and convenience will continue to prevail in 2019. At every point in your defined experience, consider what primary human need you are addressing and how you’re delivering on it. Ask that question each time you land on a design element.
- Keep your customer experience strategy (CX) and customer value proposition (CVP) connected. A customer experience strategy should demonstrate how you want your customers to feel after they’ve interacted with you. This should guide your CX design work, especially at critical junctures in the journey. A customer value proposition is the unique product or service offering that you deliver in the market place. Keep these two tightly connected—together they are the footholds to delivering on your brand promise in a differentiated way.
- Get your mobile strategy right. The vast majority of Americans (95% according to Pew) own cell phones, with just over three-quarters (77%) owning a smart phone. This device, or engagement tool, is used across the entire purchase funnel for a variety of reasons. It can also be a customer’s first point of contact with you. Think critically about how this channel delivers on your strategy and make sure you’re making it a priority.
- Define your CX strategy first; the tech strategy and plan should follow. Don’t solve for technology in a vacuum. Yes, it’s important for a technology team to be on the forefront with CX enablements. However, without business team involvement, technology investments may be made that don’t deliver on CX. It’s critical to have the CX strategy defined and a tech / biz partnership formed before technology solutions are determined and implemented
- Optimize moments in both the customer and employee journey. The lines between employee experience (EX) and CX are converging in more meaningful ways. Employees play a major role in delivering on a company’s value proposition and customer experience. Find intersecting pain points in the employee and customer journeys and resolve them through the lens of both groups to ensure stronger, more positive results.