The CX Outlook
for 2022: An Experience Renaissance
The global pandemic has upended the ways we interact with the world. Digital experiences are now ubiquitous – affecting almost every aspect of our lives, from how we work and play to shop and learn. In fact, according to Forrester, almost 80% of consumers view their world as digital.
Because of this shift from predominantly in-person experiences to digital interactions, an experience renaissance is afoot, driving companies both large and small to approach Customer Experience (CX) solutions in a whole new way. Within the coming year, cohesive microchannel experiences, discoverability, optimization, inclusive design, and sustaining innovation will take precedence. Indeed, 2022 will be no ordinary year. We will experience a renaissance in CX. Brands have a unique opportunity to implement innovative strategies and enhance the ways they interact and engage with customers in this renewed CX frontier.
NEW CHALLENGES IN THE POST-PANDEMIC OMNICHANNEL
The emergence of micro channels, including digital wallets, QR codes, and shopping via social media, have changed what we think of as omnichannel. Customers previously interacted with brands via a few channels, including through their apps or website; now, customers can encounter a brand in a magnitude of ways – including channels controlled by third-party marketplaces.
Brands now need to meet customers where they are, and that may be in any number of places. We must deeply understand each of these microchannels across the entire customer journey and how consumers are interacting with them to deliver a cohesive experience across all digital touchpoints. Even if a shopper is purchasing an item from a third-party site, brands must pay close attention to where the customer is in their journey to maintain a consistent brand experience.
FUTURE SUCCESS LAYS IN DISCOVERABILITY
Discoverability is increasingly trumping brand awareness. In the world of search, today’s savvy consumer can find something even if they didn’t previously know it existed. As more people now than ever are experiencing the world through a screen, brands must make themselves easy to find. Google is processing about 63,000 search queries every second, which translates to 5.6 billion searches each day. These statistics show how important it is for brands to be discoverable.
As such, businesses must be present in ways that are relevant to a consumer’s intentions and moments, across numerous devices and channels. Once your brand has been found, a strong “digital front door” and an optimized, personalized experience will make it stand out from competitors. But without simple discoverability, there can be no leveling up.
OPTIMIZATION REIGNS SUPREME IN CONVERSATIONAL TECH
As writer Ralph Waldo Emerson so eloquently stated, “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” When it comes to CX, the customer journey is essential in cultivating brand loyalty. Consumers that enjoy fantastic experiences through every process of their journey are more likely to stick around for the long haul. However, a customer could experience frustrations if a particular experience does not apply to their stage in the journey, or if those experiences are poorly designed, built, or executed.
With the growing popularity of chatbots, consumers are more willing than ever to interact with Artificial Intelligence. But if that technology (which often comes in the form of bots) doesn’t deliver a relevant, personalized experience that addresses a customer’s specific pain points at a specific time, brand loyalty can be lost forever. To mitigate this risk, companies must glean actionable insights from customer feedback to consistently improve the customer experience. Sentiment analysis can imitate the emotional quotient of a user’s queries that will build better experiences no matter where the customer is on their journey. This, in turn, deepens customer relationships and boosts their loyalty.
INCLUSIVE DESIGN WILL GO MAINSTREAM
Inclusive designs enhance the overall customer experience. Today’s consumers want, and even expect, inclusive behaviors from brands. Consumers have vastly different life experiences, abilities, and needs that impact the way they interact with the world, including digital products. Customers generally want to see themselves reflected in all areas of brand identity, including what language is being communicated, what appears in ad campaigns, and how accessible products are to them.
Inclusive design ensures an app or website is user- friendly to the broadest range of shoppers, allowing everyone to successfully participate. It supports and embraces the full gamut of human diversity. While a site’s accessibility accommodates the various abilities and contexts of its users, inclusive design also includes the different perspectives, including those of people with disabilities, into the design process.
Through our own research, we found that 44% of consumers would choose a company based on its ability to provide accessible experiences and designs to ensure everyone feels included. Customers also value brands that are purpose- driven. A powerful mission statement and vision for the future are essential for businesses, along with a strong stance on social issues, common causes, and ways they are giving back to the local community. This increases brand affinity and allows for stronger customer sentiment, leading them to prioritize companies that practice corporate responsibilities within their local communities.
INNOVATION IS NO LONGER INNOVATIVE
No matter where a brand was in its innovation
journey, the past two years have presented a critical
existential decision: make innovation a priority or fall to the wayside. Today’s consumer expects
companies to continuously build upon their existing
innovations by offering more relevant products and services, and to continue advancing what
technology can do for them. In turn, brands will
need to adapt to the ever-changing needs and
standards of the customer to remain relevant.
In 2022, companies must pivot from being reactive to strategic. Businesses must be able to anticipate potential problems before they occur and continuously build upon their progress and sustain the momentum of their innovation strategies to provide customers with a seamless, error-free experience. Today, innovation roadmaps are as essential to an organization as business-as-usual initiatives.
THE BOTTOM LINE
2022 is the year brands must invest in and accelerate their approach to CX. The experience renaissance demands that brands take a more deliberate approach in where and how they focus their CX efforts. Emphasizing a cohesive experience across microchannels, a focus on discoverability, optimized AI, brand experiences for all, ethical business alignments, and continuously building upon innovation will ensure brands remain successful deep into the decade.
Bree leads our Customer Experience practice, creating digital strategies and solutions using modern technologies to deliver meaningful and measurable experiences for our customers. She has served as a Creative Director for many omnichannel experiences within the retail space, as well as for a number of other industries that CapTech serves.