CX: What's Next? Brands Forced To Respond To Changing Customer Patterns

COVID-19 has changed the customer experience — perhaps forever. That’s one takeaway from Customer Experience in a Post-COVID-19 World, a study from Precisely, conducted with Corinium.

For starters, 86% of CX leaders in this study have updated their strategies because of COVID-19. With good reason: 79% report that the pandemic has increased digital interactions with their brands, and 50% say customers now demand seamless, integrated digital experiences. 

Moreover, only 31% believe customers will return to the old way of doing things after the pandemic. 

In line with this, businesses are eyeing a range of CX-related investments for next year. Email is way down the list, but personalization is even further toward the bottom:

Invest in data integration, integrity or enrichment technologies —60%

Integrated multichannel CX platforms — 46% 



Chatbots with "live takeover" functionality — 42%

Chatbots that use Natural Language Processing — 37%

Digital self-service platforms — 37%

Interactive voice-response phone systems — 33%

Interactive and personalized video — 32%

Email communications — 30%

CRM systems — 28%

Customer analytics platforms — 24%

Marketing or communications personalization — 13%

Social listening or media monitoring tools — 13%

Behind all this is the fact that 83% of the respondents have been hit with serious disruptions, with 51% describing them as major. 

The biggest issues are with marketing and sales and product usage journeys — 71% report them. 

In addition, 70% cite issues with reordering or renewal, 66% with issue resolution and 62% with needs identification. 

Among the customer journeys, the one facing the most major upheavals is onboarding — 50% report it. Second is marketing and sales (over 40%) and third product/service usage ((30%). 

The biggest challenges overall are:

- Prioritizing key investments

- Securing company-wide support for key investments

- Securing budget for key investments

- Reimagining existing customer journeys

- Ensuring business processes are changed and new CX tools are adopted

- Measuring the business impact of CX initiatives

- Securing executive buy-in for the CX strategy

Two caveats about this survey: First, it is a UK study. Second, the sample size is only 101 CX leaders. That said, the challenges are similar to those reported in the U.S.,and globally, and could be a harbinger.  

How are CX leaders assessing customer needs? Here are the ways:

Customer feedback surveys — 53%

Digital customer analytics — 49%

Social listening or media monitoring tools — 48%

Focus groups — 48%

Dashboards built into our systems — 39%

Employee feedback — 28%

Is your firm planning on putting money into CX? Greg Van den Heuvel, executive vice president and GM of Precisely, notes that “these data-driven investments are about engaging people in a personal and interactive way — across different channels of engagement — to ensure they get to the answers they need quickly.

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