The year of the customer: How prioritizing CX cut across every industry

| December 21, 2017
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As we reflect on the past year and prepare for an even better 2018, there are many themes that come to mind, but most critical among them is a new normal—the reality that improving the customer experience (CX) has become the big priority across industries (and across roles within these industries). Today, customer-centricity is at the core of every business decision. In fact, 89% of companies are competing on the basis of customer experience (CX) “with the biggest focus on programs to improve the collection and analysis of customer feedback.”

What’s more, another survey of 2,000+ professionals—including executives in product, marketing, digital, and design/UX—found that understanding and improving the customer experience has become the entire organization’s objective and was no longer relegated to a few lone champions.

What can we say? It’s about time! We’ve watched great CX drive revenue and loyalty for companies, large and small, time and time again. Here are a few of the industries and success stories leading the charge:

Retail

In today’s rapidly evolving and highly competitive retail landscape, even the most well-established and successful retailers have to perform at peak across all channels. For instance, Jet.com’s commitment to consistently improving their customer experience significantly impacts their bottom line. After obtaining crucial human insights, Jet made changes to its site experience that “resulted in a 20% lift in customer savings, and in turn, customers were buying more, to the tune of an 8% increase in the size of their shopping basket.” Forbes even suggests CX was a major reason Walmart acquired Jet for $3 billion.

Plus, as consumers spend an increased amount of time using smartphones, their expectations for mobile shopping experiences are rising. While mobile sales topped $60 billion in 2016, mobile interactions influenced over $1 trillion in offline sales. The retailers that will succeed in the coming years are the ones that invest in seamlessly integrating mobile into omnichannel shopping experiences.

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Travel / Hospitality

As more generations of consumers gain buying power, travel and hospitality companies are adapting their marketing and visual design strategies to attract the younger audiences who are less brand-loyal, value experiences over items, and are more likely to shop around for deals and rewards.

Hotels like Marriott and Hyatt are actively sponsoring locally-organized events and strategies to incorporate the local community into their guest experience. These strategies can pay huge dividends, but promoting them to millennials without losing authenticity is tough.

As with retailers, customer demand is growing in this sector for mobile products that put information and control directly into the hands of guests. Several hotel chains have launched payment apps where guests can purchase food and drinks using loyalty points. A recent Hotels.com Mobile Travel Tracker survey of 9,200 travelers worldwide found that the most commonly mentioned location (27%) from where people booked their stay was while in bed with their partner. This mobile mind shift raises guest expectations across the board.

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Financial Services

Global consulting firm Accenture recently surveyed 800 global bank and insurance industry executives and found that more than half of the institutions plan to increase their investments in major corporate transformation initiatives over the next 12 months, primarily due to cost pressures, new regulations, increased customer expectations, and digital disruption.

Prudential’s Director of CX John Consigli recently said it best: “There is a tremendous opportunity to exceed the expectations of financial customers by embracing simple tried and true digital design processes. Customer satisfaction and “Ease of doing business” (EDB) are bellwethers for long-term profitability and growth.”

Consigli continues, “From my perspective, the real revolution is happening in the digital product space of the financial world. While customer-led design techniques and processes have existed for a while, it’s relatively recent that User Experience (UX) has played such an integral role in product development. Today’s digital product owners in Finance are focused more and more on value to the customer.”

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Media

Forecasts show the number of digital publishing and streaming video users increasing to 323 million by 2022, according to Statista. Consumers rely on digital sources for news, entertainment, and education 24/7, making online interactions with media companies part of daily life.

But competition is fierce and audiences have increasingly high expectations. It’s critical for a media company to recognize the challenges—from content to credibility to compensation—in order to capture revenue by giving audiences the experiences they want.

Successful media companies, like Netflix and Spotify, understand that the future relies on understanding an ever-changing audience. With information infused into every moment, there’s no lack of opportunity to capture an audience with content that resonates.

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I could keep going! See how even Healthcare is being impacted by “the age of the customer.”

Best-in-class companies know that the key to improving CX is continuously gaining human insights from their target market. There’s no substitute for developing a deep, organization-wide understanding of your customers’ interactions with your brand. Researching the CX across all touchpoints will equip your organization with the knowledge needed to drive innovative customer-centric solutions that maintain a competitive edge.

Here’s to creating more great customer experiences in 2018 and beyond!