A Glimpse into the Customer Experience Crystal Ball

Ask any marketing or sales executive whose job it is to focus on Customer Experience (CX) at their company and you usually get the same response – “it’s everyone’s job.”

That tells us two things – 1) CX is a major priority and companies know they need to focus on it and

2) companies are trying to figure out what to prioritize.

In December, I had the pleasure of hosting a panel on the state of CX in partnership with the AMA’s Baltimore chapter.  Each of the expert guests offered their predictions for where the CX field was going, providing a great blueprint for everyone who is trying to get a handle on what to tackle next and how to address item #2 mentioned above.

Here is a summary of what they shared:

“A Return to Simple Experiences”
Sylvia Long-Tolbert, Subscriptions and Customer Training Lead at IBM Labs

Humans are overloaded.  Sylvia calls out how the “multi-sensory” experiences that brands have been trying to deliver are just making things worse.  In her view, companies will begin focusing on the core aspects of the experience they need to get right and stop worrying about going over the top.  This brings to mind an example I saw at the height of the pandemic, where brands shifted their focus from their broad product lines and just focused on the core offerings that consumers wanted in stock.  Rather than focusing on “more” companies should just be really good at delivering what customers want most.  Reducing choice can also relieve consumer decision fatigue.

“EX will drive CX”
Suzie Dieth – Director of Customer Experience at Reliant Energy

Suzie predicted that companies will put more attention and resources toward “intentionally designing the employee experience.”  Beyond just equipping their current frontlines to deliver great experiences, Suzie envisions CX influencing decisions around attracting and hiring talent as well.  Our team at InnerView applauds this insight, as we are seeing the impact frontline employees have on the customer experience every day.  The true innovators around customer experience are the ones who can find the right balance between developing a great CX strategy and investing in the people who deliver it.

“Attempts to Automate will Continue”
Aaron Maass – Former VP of CX Transformation at ADT

Based on rising labor costs, Aaron sees companies continuing to look for cost efficiencies in the ways they serve customers.  This means more self-service and automated options to meet customers’ needs without live support, however, Aaron is quick to point out that this might not create the best experience.  All three panelists believed that human interactions, when done well, still deliver a better experience than digital service.  Once again, the key to success with digital investments will be finding the right mix between digital and human assistance that is both efficient and effective.

Their sage predictions highlight another important truth in the customer experience space – there is no simple “answer” when it comes to CX.  Every company needs to identify their own objectives, capabilities and resources and prioritize from there.  While CX might be everyone’s job, someone has to create the vision and hold others accountable.

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