Over the last couple of months various industry pundits, analysts, and vendors have published their lists of CX Trends for 2022 and beyond. A quick search on Google will display a very wide and often conflicting range of customer experience predictions for 2022.
During a recent CX Focus webinar Rebecca Wilson facilitated a panel discussion of CX leaders, where she asked each panelist what was their top priority for 2022. The panel included; Ayelet Mendel-Girin, General Head of CX, The Humm Group; Bonnie Mooney, Head of CX McMillan Shakespeare; and Preethi Bridgement, Director of CX Solutions Freshworks. This article is a summary of some of the points raised during the panel discussion. If you want to see a video of the presentation please visit.
The fact that the range of CX predictions for 2022 is so broad may be due to the fact that the concept of CX is so broad and each organisation has its own definition of what it is. Bonnie Mooney comments, “CX can be so broad and I think in different organisations it does mean different different things. In some organisations CX is strictly the NPS and Voice of Customer (VoC) program while in other organisations it encompasses design, UX, UI and so on. When we say CX it can mean many different things to many different people”.
In some cases, CX is regulated to a small team that monitors customer feedback. In others, it’s something that impacts everything the business says and does. Preethi Bridgement elaborates, “For some CX is simply about customer feedback and that’s where it stops. And I think it’s a missed opportunity if that’s where it stops. It’s just about ‘this is what your customers think of you’. The ones that do it well take that and look at what are some real systemic issues in our organisation we can fix.”
Is Employee Experience (EX) the top priority for 2022?
According to polling conducted during the webinar ‘Employee Experience (EX) topped the list with the most respondents. Bridgement comments “The biggest shift I have seen across a number of organisations is the shift towards employees. Companies genuinely believe that the focus on employees will pay dividends when it comes to delivering better experiences. It’s about, how do we make it easier for employees to deliver that experience, to feel part of this brand. As much as we want customers aligned with our brand, we want employees to feel aligned with our brand.”
For Bonnie Mooney the number one priority is data and privacy, but EX was a very close second, she says, “We’re having a lot of discussions around data and privacy. As a financial services business, it is very important for us to understand how these issues will impact our customers and our ability to personalise experiences. Our next priority is EX. We believe is EX is critical to driving a better customer experience.”
The pandemic saw a rise in conscious consumerism. How long this will last, it’s hard to say. For Ayelet Mendel-Girin delivering a values-based customer strategy is her top priority for 2022. “It’s about connecting our brand with our customers through shared values. Because our products are so similar to our competitors it’s really important to develop trust and long-lasting relationships with customers. Increasingly customers are acting and making purchasing decisions based upon their values, whether that’s sustainability or diversity or whatever. It’s important for us not just to say we support those values of our customer but that we clearly demonstrate that we live by them.”
Bridgement adds, “A commitment to values and the willingness of brands to take an ethical stand on important issues, can also resonate with employees. Employees are more motivated and engaged when they know that their leadership and their brand is backing the right values.”
For values-based marketing and customer experience to succeed; authenticity is critical. Mendel-Girin, “Price will always be important, but a values-based strategy allows you to go beyond pricing to create experiences that resonate with your customers.”
Moving beyond surveying customers to truly understanding them
Traditionally, VoC has focused on understanding what the customer thinks of the brand or its products or services. These days, for CX programs to be successful, the focus needs to shift to understanding the customer. Mooney comments, “For us, we’re really focused on surveying and understanding our customers in multiple different ways. So, we’re looking at broadening our VoC program. We’ve also put a lot of time and energy into our quantitative and qualitative research”.
“VoC is great for understanding customer interactions and sentiments at a particular point in time. But it doesn’t tell us what customers are thinking and feeling. What their wants and needs are? What their future wants and needs will be. So that’s where qualitative research is really helping us identify those areas where we might serve our customers in a different way. What are they struggling with? How can we make things easier for them. Give them a new product or service they haven’t thought about yet”
As, Mendel-Girin highlights, CX and VoC can focus on fixing what’s not working rather than doing something new and better, “I spend half my time on fixing pain points while the rest of my time is spent on delight factors and looking into the future for ways to delight the customer”.
VoC, as Bridgement points out, relies on customers completing surveys either online or over the phone, which represents only a fraction of customers. “Why love brands like Netflix and Dominoes yet we never have to contact them. VOC relies on someone giving you feedback, where the brand is contacting the customer or vice versa. That’s only a small part of the picture. What about all the online transactions or when you’re talking to a chatbot or through self-service channel”.
“When you can mix all the other ways a customer can contact an organisation outside of VoC and then blend quant and qual research with that, then you start to move to a greater understanding of your customers.”