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      FEATURED STORY OF THE WEEK

      Modern CX Essentials That Differentiate Your Consumer Brand

      Written by :
      Reen Singh
      | 8 minute read
      |March 29, 2024 |
      Industry : consumer-goods
      Modern CX Essentials That Differentiate Your Consumer Brand

      As new technologies and consumer expectations emerge, organizations that provide consumer products and services are focusing on enhancing the customer experience (CX) they provide as a competitive differentiator. However, over 70% of CX leaders “struggle to design projects that increase customer loyalty and achieve results” as part of their modern CX programs, Gartner reports.

       

      In fact, these developments—alongside macroeconomic disruptions such as supply chain issues and inflation—mean CX performance is facing an industry-wide slump. “2022’s Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) results saw the first significant decline in CX quality since 2017,” Forrester reports. “Now, one in five [CX organizations] find themselves on the chopping block in 2023 as the economy weakens, CX performance slips and proof of ROI remains elusive.”

       

      Part of these companies’ struggles has emerged from the complexity of consumers’ pathways to their brands, products, and services. New, non-linear experiences are characterized by gaps in messaging, engagement, and personalization; these companies must better understand omnichannel customer behavior to provide a more seamless CX that adds value for customers every step of the way.

       

      In this article, we explore modern challenges to CX among companies that provide consumer products and services. We also identify key characteristics of modern consumer expectations and provide key strategies and essential steps toward developing modern CX success.

       

      The Evolution of Consumer Expectations

       

      In 2023, consumers no longer perceive the quality of products or paid services as the core value proposition consumer-facing companies have to offer. “Consumers increasingly want their relationships and interactions with brands to be memorable and experiential,” according to Forbes. “CX is the number one priority for companies increasing their technology spend during 2023, with 65 percent of companies planning to do so” as a result.

       

      This means in practice, consumers expect CX to be personalized, provide an effortless experience, and offer constant innovation. Brands face consequences if they can’t provide these benefits: “71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions, and 76% get frustrated when this doesn’t happen,” according to PwC.

       

      Although these challenges may seem daunting, there are exponential and competitive benefits for companies who manage to deliver on these expectations successfully where otherwise those opportunities would not exist. For example, Forbes observes that consumers are willing to “pay a premium” of as much as 20% for customized or personalized products and experiences.

       

      Transparency, Ethics, and Production

       

      “Memorable and experiential” interactions aren’t all consumers seek out in terms of CX. Consumers increasingly want visibility into how products are sourced, produced, and distributed, emphasizing ethics and sustainability in these areas as well. In this way, the production process is just as much part of CX as the customer service technologies a company utilizes, where deviation from best practices in these areas can have a direct impact on a company’s brand.

       

      Consumer-facing companies must consider their complete production process and the customer-facing values they want to express. For example, consumers may be less willing to buy from organizations that outsource to partners with questionable labor practices, companies that have an outsized environmental impact, and companies that may negatively impact human health in their production processes.

       

      Defining Modern CX

       

      Companies must redefine their focus on customer needs beyond the transactional as a result. This requires CX teams to implement strategies that are focused on the customer’s journey and provide end-to-end solutions for consumers’ product and service needs. CX teams must increasingly coordinate with production and supply chain teams, shifting towards an integrated model that has CX teams coordinate with operations and strategy to ensure consumers have a consistent, personalized, and ethical experience as they interact with their products and services.

       

      Barriers to Successful Consumer Engagement

       

      While these challenges represent opportunities for some brands, most companies will struggle to transform CX to mee the apparent ‘minimum requirements.’ “In 2023, four in five CX teams will lack critical design, data, and journey skills,” according to Forrester. “These skills are both scarce and in high demand.” Companies just waking up to these new consumer expectations may find themselves at a competitive disadvantage; they will struggle to acquire the right talent, technologies, and internal momentum to prevent losses that will only get worse over time.

       

      Essential Strategies for Modern CX Success

       

      Fortunately, there are opportunities for companies to realize the promised results of effective CX transformation. And already, “86% of marketers have seen a measurable lift in business results from their personalization campaigns,” PwC reports.

       

      At the foundation of successes in personalization and other dimensions of CX is a renewed focus on design. McKinsey provides an in-depth description of these opportunities: “A combined CX-design approach to discovering customer needs, designing solutions and journeys, and delivering customer impact will help companies create a seamless end-to-end experience that truly meets customers’ ever-evolving needs.”

       

      But before they determine their approach and strategic steps towards “delivering customer impact,” brands must determine the right focus areas for CX transformation in this new paradigm. Here are some areas where transformation can drive value:

       

      • Customer Intelligence. Brands can access better customer data and insights to develop new product and service features and enhance customer journeys with features consumers seek out.
      • Customer Engagement. As ZDNET describes mobile experiences, “If you don’t make it as easy and intuitive as possible for customers to browse and complete purchases on your app, they’ll surely move on and give their business to your competitor.” Brands can use digital touchpoints to create better customer experiences with the support of automated chatbots, website personalization, or interactive in-app experiences.
      • Omnichannel Integration. Brands can create a consistent experience across all channels, including physical locations, web, mobile, and social media. “Making improvements is about streamlining tools, interfaces, and platforms and reducing friction around giving customers what they want,” according to Forbes.
      • Voice of Customer (VoC). Through new tools and engagement strategies, brands can acquire and analyze customer feedback to identify areas of improvement in the customer experience.
      • Customer Participation. Brands can involve customers in the design of products and services by soliciting feedback, rewarding customers for participating in focus groups or even working with customers to co-create.

       

      By prioritizing these areas, organizations can begin to create a modern CX experience that meets consumers’ expectations and drives better brand engagement.

       

      5 Steps to Building a Modern CX Strategy

       

      With these priorities in place, brands are in a better position to determine how to transform their consumers’ CX within a step-by-step process. Here are five essential steps to developing an effective strategy:

       

      1. Assess the Customer Landscape. Understand consumers’ preferences, needs, and expectations when interacting with products and services. Identify customer segments and touchpoints they use most often that can be leveraged to create better experiences.
      2. Clarify the Customer Proposition. Define a clear customer-centric proposition that aligns with consumers’ expectations and preferences, and create design parameters for acting upon this proposition.
      3. Design an End-to-End Experience. Identify existing experiences that can be improved as well as new opportunities to create customer touchpoints. Develop basics such as user interface guidelines and accessibility standards based on your understanding of consumers’ expectations.
      4. Implement Data-Driven Practices. Collect customer insights and data to optimize the customer experience across all touchpoints, including automated features such as chatbots and elements of personalization.
      5. Measure Customer Experience Performance. Track CX performance to identify areas of improvement and take corrective measures. Make tracking and corrections part of your standard process for optimizing CX.

       

      By following these steps, organizations can create a modern CX strategy that meets consumers’ needs and drives greater customer engagement and loyalty.

       

      Creating a CX Unique to Your Customers and Your Brand

       

      Ultimately, a successful CX strategy must be tailored to consumers’ needs and preferences as well as your brand’s unique value proposition. Brands should look for ways to use customer data and insights to create personal touches that make an impression on consumers, especially if those impressions override those of direct competitors. This includes using their data to personalize product recommendations or provide exclusive deals or rewards based on past purchases.

       

      Organizations should also strive to create an emotional connection with consumers, using the latest technologies and features that demonstrate their commitment to their customers’ interests and prioritize. This means continuing to improve upon existing experiences as well as creating new touchpoints that consumers would not expect other brands to provide. In these ways, brands can deliver a unique, modern CX that delivers on consumers’ expectations and continues to drive loyalty and engagement as those expectations evolve.

       

      Partner with Uvation for CX Technology Transformation

       

      Uvation is a leading consultant, provider, and integration partner for technologies that support your CX strategy. Contact one of our experts today for a free consultation.

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