The Customer Experience ‘To Don’t’ List for 2019

Part one of three

After all the Christmas and New Year’s deliciously over indulgent celebratory feasts, in contrary, the political, economic and environmental headlines of 2018 have left many of us with a bad taste in the mouth.

Each New Year we love to look back at the events from the previous year, to learn from it and to predict and prepare for what we hope will be a better year, or not? The pessimists among us might think 2019 is already off to a rocky start because, as of yet, there is no Brexit deal in place, although apparently (like every year) some scientist predicts Armageddon, this time on 1 February - by means of a giant asteroid heading towards earth - which could wipe out humanity, so in the great scheme of things, does it really matter?

While most of us will not heed the silly and weird predictions for 2019, some past year observations, turned into current strategic predictions. Gartner got this one right: In a study from four years ago, Gartner predicted that by 2019 more than 50% of organizations will invest more money into the customer experience. Today’s numbers indicate that even more organizations are making CX a priority. In fact, today 89% of companies believe they compete primarily based on customer experience, but while 80% of companies trust they deliver “super experiences,” only 8% of customers agree.

Go out and seek fortune

2019 sees the 12th and last position in the Chinese Zodiac, the pig, symbolizing a compassionate, generous and sympathetic character. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the loyalty of retail customers in 2018. Year on year, to reap short-term gains, giants in the retail sector engage in price wars. A risk, as once some of the big names had bled margins dry, they had no resources left to improve on vital CX efforts. The number of retailer foreclosure headlines in 2018 echo why price cuts can’t compete with the long-term gains of offering a more sophisticated customer experience to create loyalty and repeat custom. And while most industries understand that customer experience can deliver big gains, with advances in technology driving consumer expectations, many businesses will throw in the towel trying to differentiate based on CX, believing it to be too complex to achieve. Not having a clear strategy will render them unsure about integrating technology with human support, the cost implications or savings it might incur, and the impact it might have on job descriptions and staff numbers. These companies are not truly convinced that a competitor, that really focused on the customer experience, could be the blow that brings their house down.

Strong solid bricks, straw or sticks

CX is not just about firing messages at people, it’s about the story of how they interact, in every way, on and off-line, through every touch-point with a brand. Old tale morals, that hard work and ingenuity are the key to succeed, are still relevant today. CX initiative is no longer optional in today’s competitive business landscape, it’s vital to cement customer loyalty.

Consumers expect exceptional, frictionless experiences and support when they need it throughout the customer journey. They don’t just accept being able to self-serve answers, they expect to be able to contact a business at a time convenient to them, through a channel of their choice, accessible from any device, anywhere on the planet.

Therefore, there is no place for silos within business, legacy systems and legacy attitudes which hurt the customer experience and prevents growth. Businesses must re-assemble their CX house, realising that the potential of taking the time to invest in strong ‘materials’ such as customer support software to address the challenge of delivering truly exceptional CX whilst empowering their employees to contribute to customer lifetime value.

2019 to don’t list

Most of us will make New Year’s resolutions this year, and according to science, most of us won’t see it through. Change is hard. It’s like wanting to do something especially when you are told NOT to. A little reverse psychology might trick the brain, #brainwave, a ‘to don’t’ list to help businesses looking to adapt to change and embrace customer experience which we will reveal next week. (Apparently that’s when most resolutions fail.)

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