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How to improve your customer experience: Are you ready for the challenges of 2024?

Chris Barnes, our Customer Experience Officer, looks ahead to the CX landscape in five years time and questions how many are prepared for change.

Customer expectations are getting higher with each passing year – but many of our customer experiences (CX) are still broken by a lack of focus and motivation to change.

Our recent research found that 36% of CMOs admit their brand hasn’t invested in CX at all. Around one in five (22%) said the lack of investment in CX came from organisational blockers and team structure and 11% blamed a lack of C-suite support and senior buy-in.

Is this storing up trouble for the future? I believe it is. So, the big question is how to improve your customer experience.

Five years in the future

Imagine the world in 2024 where you need to deliver a brilliant customer experience, day or night. Immediate responses. The ability to self-serve. The demand to delight. Think of the impact of 5G. Deliveroo and Uber, the children of 4G and 5G, could bring a next generation who make their predecessors look like dinosaurs.. And what role will newly achievable AI or VR play?

While you’re sleeping, competitors will be stealing your business. It’s crucial to examine what the CX environment will look like, and how brands can start to prepare.

However, the CX of the future doesn't start with the customer. It starts with your business and a focus on four main internal improvements.

The hidden partners

By 2024, our day to day experiences will be led by a select few consumer-facing brand names: ‘hidden partners’ with massive influence. Every time your 5G kettle boils, Mark Zuckerberg will gain another data point.

It sounds like an episode of Black Mirror, but our daily lives are already entwined with platforms such as Google, Facebook and Amazon. Thousands of retailers currently trade through Amazon’s customer interface, and our news is delivered by social feeds. If Facebook has its way, even currency will be under the control of the hidden partners.

While consumer facing brands will continue to develop ever deeper relationships with their customers, they’re unlikely to own or build all of the technology enabling them to do so.

The brands of 2024 will need to ask whether to partner or replicate to keep up. Some will want to bring disruptors on board as a ‘plug and play’ solution to meet new customer expectations, while others may be better off simply adapting their existing service.

Humans still matter

The last decade has been a time of change, with smartphones, tablets, social media and widespread wireless leading to truly connected customers. If anything, that pace of change will be speeding up in the next ten years.

But while the technology does the hard work of automating, repeating tasks and removing friction, there’s still a big role for humans.

Data demands insight to analyse the ‘why’ of a particular touch point rather than just the ‘how’. Does an AI tool understand what approach matches the values of the business, or can it only tell you how to make more money?

In some situations we’ll still demand to talk to humans who can make the difference to a great customer experience. That’s why CX starts with you. Successful brands of the future will need empowered front-line staff with the right training and empathy to make on-the-spot decisions to improve the customer journey in key moments of truth.

In the end, a good customer experience is about understanding humans.

Chris Barnes - Customer Experience Officer

Integrated thinking

Another reason CX doesn’t start with the customer is because internal teams are often set up to deliver a broken customer experience. They work to ensure the team is succeeding and hitting KPIs. And there’s a budget to implement their changes, regardless of the needs of other teams looking after others parts of the customer journey

If the customer isn’t integral to their part of the journey, they get ignored. Collaboration should be a priority and a collective goal, but currently it isn’t.

By 2024, CX will need to be tied into overall business KPIs so people can see its value and the difference it makes to the bottom line. The siloed approach of old just won’t cut it any more. CX starts with you.

The need for evolution

When it comes to improving customer experience, future-proofing means starting with your business, and getting the right environment to enable collaboration, flexibility and continuous improvement. New entrants are snapping at heels whilst established players are needing to up their game. To avoid being crunched in the middle there’s a necessity to evolve.

And successful businesses will be those that never forget that, in the end, good CX is about understanding humans (those that work for them, and those they are trying to reach) and their day-to-day lives, not just implementing advanced technology.

We can help you prepare for the future of CX.

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