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5 Top CX Trends for the "Next Normal"

Updated: Feb 28


Top CX Trends

Every business wishes to provide the best customer experience and surpass their customers' expectations. A happy customer is a live testimonial & advocate for the brand. Whilst companies strive to invest in and build customer relationships, the dynamics have shifted post the Pandemic.


Customers’ needs and expectations from brands have evolved, singling the need for businesses to re-imagine their efforts in this domain.


Here are some emerging Top CX trends in 2024.


1. Shifts in Customer Behavior and Rising Expectations


Research conducted in the past year states how the pandemic has widely influenced customer's purchase decisions. Some categories have become more important, whilst others have diminished. For eg. businesses like e-commerce, Insurance, Health & Wellness, have grown, whilst travel, restaurants, hotels, and apparel have declined. Even within the same product category, the needs may have pivoted ( eg. Immunity products within wellness are high in demand, or “above the keyboard” dressing continues when apparel and jewelry shopping have significantly reduced).


Moreover. Mode of consumption has certainly changed to largely online formats with expected high standards for ease and convenience. In addition, 50% of Customers are willing to shift brands, even after one poor experience, in the post-Covid world. This number can go up to 75% with the Gen Y/Gen Z digital natives that are even more demanding. Consumers are looking for convenience and are willing to pay for it.


What these signals for brands is the need for greater focus on CX, a. to help organizations understand changed customer behavior and b. to develop future game plans to meet rising customer expectations.


Moreover, this is not just about customer service alone as it was perceived up until 2020, but the entire gamut of activities from consumer insights to product creation, marketing, selling, service, and retention. Weaving CX into each aspect of business decisions is a new capability that requires to be built within companies. Build empathy and rethink customer needs through the lifecycle


2. Extensive Digitization of Business processes

 

Covid-19 has given a tremendous boost to digital transformation. Offline formats have pivoted to online, customers’ and intermediary partners’ journeys have been digitized, digital payments have taken a boost and the e-commerce eco-system has catapulted to meet this growing demand.


Enough has been written about Covid being the trigger for 5x/ 10X digital investments over the last year, with the use of tools like AI-led bots, ML-based personalization, Automation to enable error-free simplified processes, WFM and conferencing tools for employee engagement, personal messaging as a means of effective communications, and also newer domains like interactive Voice Recognition… these are increasingly becoming part of core capabilities, to improve customer experience.


This process has been triggered but will continue to evolve, as new use cases are implemented & new tools and technologies see higher penetration across categories.


One of the fresh challenges that organizations are facing is to link some of these investments to proven benefits in customer and business metrics. CFOs have started asking questions, with regards to ROI for large digital interventions that have been undertaken. Evaluate Transformation efforts based on the value delivery they offer and prioritize those that impact the customer directly


3. Humanizing Customer Experiences


Whilst technology has enabled ease of engagements & transactions, it also creates a potential loss of the human factor between customers and brands. Tech tools provide a lot of benefits, but sometimes lack the human touch that every customer craves.


Chatting with bots integrating NLP programming, to talking to a virtual agent on a voice call, processes are becoming more robotic by the day. To top it, employees are working from home and front-line staff that engage with customers; often find themselves too scripted with less availability of handholding and team support behind them.


A slightly newer and comparatively under-explored discipline, at least in Indian companies, is that of Service Design. This integrates customer journey mapping and design thinking, to deploy the science of human cantered design principles into creating seamless and smoother CX. It engages both consumer personas and insights on the one hand and digital transformation tools on the other and attempts to bring in a balance between goings from 100% human interactions to a automated impersonal environment.


Customers are humans and all humans’ decisions are based upon not just the rational left brain but also the right brain that craves relationships, imagination, intuition, art, and visualization.


Customers love to interact with your business. Offering a humanized front from customized UX/UI design experience along with data-led personalization can create more meaningful interactions with customers as against mechanized pre-programmed answers. It directly adds to the customer experience.


CX professionals can assist your organization to strike a perfect balance between humanizing and automating your business effectively.


4. Changing Dynamics of Employee Culture


Employees are not just the face of your brand for your customers, but some of them actually impart direct experience by literally talking your talk. Even those who work behind the scenes impact customer experience through their decisions and actions. Every internal decision has an impact on customers in the external environment. To enhance CX, it is critical to have highly engaged employees who can prove to be assets to your business.


The pandemic has distorted the dynamics of every business with work from home becoming the norm. It has forced employees to work with hardly any supervision and with a set of new tools and software, which they may not even be fully trained for. This negatively impacts the employee experience (EX), which in turn results in compromised CX as well.


Moreover, there remains the over-arching long-term need to align corporate strategy, vision, and values to customer needs, such that the organization can plan its sustainable growth over a period of time. The need to build an organizational culture that is aligned with that vision is key for the brand to perpetuate. Integrating employees into that vision through a process of communication, training, some time, and engagement is a key part of that process.


Re-imagine CX ownership in your org structure. Carve the role of your employees in it and empower them to work in a culture of ownership and accountability that is aligned to your CX objectives.


5. Making CX a priority


The modern market is highly competitive. Great CX acts as a key differentiator from your competitors and can lead to brand love and brand advocacy. There is no greater nirvana for a marketer or even a CEO than having customers who create positive word-of-mouth and refer their friends and family! No advertising alone can lead to that. It can only emanate from really great customer experiences.


Especially post the Pandemic, in this highly VUCA environment, treat CX as a priority rather than as a luxury. Leaders need to shift their focal point from being product-centric, towards being customer-centric. CEOs re-imagine their structures, people & processes. Break siloed customer data. Resolve competing functional priorities and nurture collaboration. Build capability for CX across the board, for what better outcome can lead to business goals than the happiness of its customers?


With a great CX, you will not only retain your loyal consumer base but also have them buy more frequently from you, as also increase your new acquisitions, and overall generate more Revenue.

 

Conclusion


CX is an ongoing and evolving process; it is not defined and executed only once. Keep your company abreast of CX benchmarks and adopt a consumer-centered innovative CX approach.


If you think this post was helpful, then check out the upcoming CX trends. So, that your innovation department can innovate around them to elevate your business.


Also, if you need any help regarding your business’ customer experience connect with us anytime at anjali@c-xcel.com or call us at +91 9599496661.


You can also listen to us on our C-Xcel podcast!

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