Are your customer experience initiatives moving the needle? Are they differentiating you from the competition or meeting customers’ expectations? If the answer is anything other than a resounding ‘Yes!’, don’t worry – you’re not alone.
A recent report by Forrester found that in 2023, the majority of US brands failed to make any significant CX improvements – for the third year running. The analyst firm also predicts that, in the coming months, some brands will call off their CX initiatives altogether.
It’s a troubling prediction, because good customer experiences have become a key driver of loyalty and an important source of competitive advantage.
In 2024, a good customer experience is no longer a bonus, it’s a lifeline. Competition is fierce, expectations are sky-high, and loyalty hinges on every interaction. But how do you ensure your brand not just survives, but thrives in this environment? Forget chasing metrics and buzzwords – it’s time to power up your customer experience with purpose.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably of the camp that’s not ready to give up on achieving CX success. So how do you get your CX projects moving forward and driving business results? The key is getting back to basics, with tangible improvements.
There are three fundamental things you can do this year to get your CX projects back on trackâ¦
- Understand the “why” behind CX
- Break down data silos
- Prioritise personalisation
We’ll dive into each of them in more detail below.
Understand the “why” behind CX: It’s not just about happy faces.
Over the last few years, CX has been a key talking point – and major buzzword – in marketing circles across sectors. As a result, many businesses have jumped on board without fully understanding why CX matters.But it’s important to have a clear understanding of the purpose of CX, to keep your strategy on track. Because the goal isn’t higher customer satisfaction scores; it’s emotional loyalty and the commercial benefits that come with it.
Sure, high satisfaction scores are nice, but they’re not the end goal. The true “why” of CX lies deeper, in the realm of emotional connection and loyalty. Customers want to feel understood, valued, and part of something bigger. They want experiences that resonate with their needs and aspirations, not just solve basic problems. So, dig beyond the data. Conduct customer research, observe their behavior, and ask yourself: what emotions do we want to evoke? How can we build a lasting relationship, not just a fleeting transaction? When you understand the “why,” the “how” becomes clear.
Better customer experiences are about connecting with customers on an emotional level. As consumers, we all use emotion when making buying decisions – whether we’re aware of it or not. The goal of good CX is to foster positive emotions, so that when rational factors like convenience or price are the same, customers still choose your brand over the competition.
Ultimately, then, CX is about growing sustainable customer loyalty, based on emotional connections, rather than price.
It’s important that the business-wide CX strategy is centred around the end-goal of increasing loyalty – in the form of retention, lifetime value, and advocacy. That will make it much easier to prioritise CX projects, decide next steps and measure results.
Break down data silos: Knowledge is power, but access is key.
The dreaded data silo. Disconnected customer data / insight is one of the biggest barriers to CX improvement – whether the source of the problem is down to software or internal policy.
Your customer data is a goldmine, but it’s useless if it’s locked away in isolated silos. Marketing knows one thing, support knows another, and sales operates in its own vacuum. This fragmented view leads to disjointed experiences, frustrating customers and hindering your ability to truly personalize. In 2024, it’s time to bridge the data gap. Invest in technology that integrates information across departments, empowering each team with a holistic view of the customer journey. With shared insights and real-time data, you can anticipate needs, tailor offers, and deliver seamless experiences that wow.
Good CX is highly dependent on data. To keep interactions personalised and valuable, you need to understand the customer’s relationship with your business over time. When each interaction is driven by a different dataset or decision-making process, the end experience suffers.
Your number one CX priority in 2024 should be breaking down these barriers and getting your data under control.
How? Start by identifying the source of the silo. It may come down to the culture of your organisation – for example, leaders who are overly cautious about sharing data between teams. In that case, you’ll need to make a case to your senior management team for the importance of making relevant data accessible to the right people.
More often than not, though, the problem lies in technical capability. Once teams are on-board with the idea of improving CX, the desire to share data isn’t the problem – it’s simply that the different processes, databases and tech platforms used by each team make it difficult to join up data.
The solution is to find a central hub that can take in data from multiple different sources, unify it, and make all that data available to any connected platform that needs it.
Prioritise personalisation: Treat every customer like a VIP, not a number.
Personalisation has been a talking point for a long time, and it can seem a bit over-hyped. But the truth is, it’s key to creating emotionally-engaging experiences. Making a customer feel recognized and valued is an essential part of building loyalty, and this feeling doesn’t really happen with ‘one-size-fits-all’ experiences.
One-size-fits-all marketing is dead. Today’s customers crave relevance and individuality. They want content, offers, and services that speak directly to them, addressing their unique needs and preferences. This is where personalization shines. Leverage your unified data to segment your audience, understand their behavior, and deliver tailor-made experiences. Recommend products they’ll love, offer timely support, and engage them with content that resonates. Remember, personalization isn’t just about fancy algorithms; it’s about showing your customers you truly see them.
When you present the customer with content tailored to their interests or needs – while showing them less irrelevant information – positive emotional connections start to form. And when you move beyond the basics of personalisation (like product recommendations based on previous purchases) to something more advanced, that’s when your brand can really start to stand out.
So personalisation is important – but it’s also something a lot of companies are struggling to master. Siloed databases make it hard to create richer, more relevant experiences. And even when your data is joined up, there’s still the challenge of knowing what and how to personalise – both in terms of content and execution.
So what does it look like to prioritise personalisation in 2024?
Start by doing an audit of where your brand currently stands. How are you using data right now to tailor the experience? What are your competitors doing? Make sure you’re hitting the basics first, before trying to do something more advanced.
When working out where you might use personalised content, remember that your primary goal is to create value for the customer. Recognizing someone is only half the battle – being helpful is equally important, and often the thing that separates ‘creepy’ and ‘cool’.
Talk to customers to identify pain points in the customer journey, and think about ways that personalisation may be able to help.
Don’t lose sight of customer value
One final point on CX success: Make sure you’re keeping customer value front-of-mind at every stage, from strategy to implementation.
According to Gartner, brands are struggling to create value through CX, with just 22% of CX professionals saying that their efforts exceeded customer expectations.
Whether you’re communicating the purpose of CX to the wider business, working with IT to manage data more effectively or brainstorming opportunities for personalisation, you should always be thinking about how these efforts will benefit your customers.
It’s easy to get caught up by the latest flashy tech or impressive innovation from a CX leader, and want to jump on board. But if a tactic or approach doesn’t create value for your unique customers, it won’t be effective at driving loyalty.
To see tangible CX improvements in the coming months, most businesses will need to get back to the basics. Make data management and personalisation top priorities – and remember that the end-goal is to grow loyal, profitable customers.
Powering up your customer experience in 2024 isn’t about ticking boxes – it’s about a fundamental shift in perspective. Move beyond fleeting satisfaction and focus on building emotional connections. Break down data walls and empower your teams with shared knowledge. Prioritize personalization and make every customer feel like the star of their own story. By doing so, you’ll unlock loyalty, advocacy, and a thriving business in the year ahead.
Ready to power up? Take the first step today and watch your customer experience soar.