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5 New CX Habits for 2022

4-minute read

As we start the new year it’s a good time to reflect on what has changed in customer experience (CX) and unpack emerging trends for the year ahead. 

Most significant is how CX has moved up the ranks of business priorities and is now becoming a focal point for CEOs. There is a growing pressure to advance CX efforts by leveraging technologies and customer data to gain more valuable insights and put them to work. CEOs want to know what’s working and why, and how it’s impacting the bottom line. They also want to know what is not working and how to address it.

The digital buying habits ushered in by the pandemic have become entrenched in customer behavior. It’s made the e-commerce space more competitive and raised customer expectations. For some brands this means looking for ways to mature CX strategies to remain agile and competitive. For others it requires a complete mindset shift in the way they market and engage with customers. 

In this article, we share 5 new habits companies can employ to successfully build trust, deliver greater value, and scale digital CX efforts. 

1. Develop Empathy

When navigating through a digital buying experience, customers may experience a wide range of emotions from excitement to anxiety. Understanding what customers are feeling at specific touch points and being able to connect with them on an emotional level can make a big impact on the overall customer experience and ultimately their decision to buy. 

The old way of marketing through clever promotions or advanced product features is having less of an impact on customers. The balance of power has shifted away from brands, especially in e-commerce. Today’s customers want to be understood and valued and they expect this to be demonstrated through relevant and personalized digital experiences when they visit a website. Intently listening to the voice of the customer (VoC) in order to develop empathy and understand what’s important to visitors (and why) will help create better emotional connections and build trust. 

2. Be Consistent

Customers are presented with so many similar offers and bombarded with millions of marketing messages. It’s no wonder they don’t take these at face value and rather seek out social proof and recommendations before buying. Consistency of the digital experience across all the channels a visitor uses, plays a big part in building trust. If there’s a disconnect, it creates questions which can easily turn into friction that erodes trust. 

Consistency is easier to achieve when there is a singular vision for CX that is customer-centric and teams align on goals. This can be a challenge for enterprise companies that are traditionally siloed and distributed. It takes a deliberate effort by team leaders to be more collaborative by sharing knowledge and customer data to understand what impacts CX.

3. Be Proactive

One of the fundamental challenges of CX is that it is never done, it is constantly evolving. Customer preferences and personas change, competitors innovate and introduce new offerings, and the marketplace conditions are dynamic as well . This is why being reactive isn’t enough. CX success requires a proactive and continuous approach. Being proactive means understanding market trends as well as what’s important to customers and why. Seeing how they respond to different ideas is a key element of this and is one of the reasons why brands relying on traditional A/B testing tools need to evolve to more advanced optimization platforms.

There are simply too many factors influencing CX to only test one idea against another, especially when it usually takes months to get results. By contrast AI-driven experience optimization can help brands be more proactive by experimenting with thousands of combinations of ideas and identifying top performers quickly. It enables brands to respond to customers with relevant information and offers that deliver value. It also helps companies to stay ahead of trends and switch direction quickly.

4. Focus on Relevance

Personalization is one of the leading trends in customer experience (CX), yet it remains difficult to achieve because it can be defined in so many different ways. What's more, personalization efforts often fail because they make assumptions about what customers may be interested in based on demographics and relevant data. Just because they bought a home appliance doesn’t mean they’re in the market to buy another one soon, so recommending similar products isn’t a good personalization strategy. Equally, knowing a person’s ethnicity or country of origin does not help identify which appliance might be of interest to them.

Seeking to understand why and how customers buy specific products creates context that can improve personalization efforts. Personalization only works combined with relevance otherwise it only serves to alienate or annoy customers. The more relevant the offers and experiences, the more likely visitors are to engage and move further along the customer journey and buy. 

5. Prioritize Customer Value

One of the reasons that CX has gained the attention of CEOs is that it has the potential to accelerate growth and deliver a sustained competitive advantage. But there’s a caveat in that statement; It has to be done right, which means that while CX can and does deliver business value, the priority of CX is to first create value for customers. 

Creating value for customers is what wins them over and what keeps them loyal over time. CX is vital to improving the all important customer lifetime value (CLV) metric that is instrumental to consistent business growth. Ongoing experimentation is a very effective way to see what customers are responding to and to track how this changes over time. It provides insights on what customers value so that brands can continually improve CX. 

2022 is set to be an interesting year for customer experience (CX) as brands compete for customer’s attention. Technology has an important role to play in scaling and speeding up CX efforts. The ability to respond quickly to changing customer preferences will be critical in achieving a competitive advantage. How else will brands know what’s relevant if they’re not continually experimenting with new ideas to improve CX? 

In the same way that CX is a key driver for growth, artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most effective ways to achieve CX optimization at velocity and scale. AI’s ability to learn from actions that visitors take on websites and process thousands of combinations of ideas to find the top performers continually improves CX. Ensuring that brands remain relevant in their offerings and continue to deliver value to customers.

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