While they bring challenges to the companies, they also bring opportunities to build competitive advantage through new capability development and re-iterating the way customer experience is managed in the organisation.
Looking at the trend of customers requesting more responsible experience, it is evident that the companies need to be more transparent and truthful about their ESG efforts in the interactions with customers. This would require the companies to define and implement environmental, social, and governmental responsibility in their processes and practices while providing the transparency for the customers. This could include but is not limited to for example providing transparency on the whole supply chain: where the raw materials are sourced and how the different stakeholders in the supply chain operate from ESG perspective. Often there is poor visibility to these also in the beginning of supply chains, such as to the working conditions or biodiversity considerations. Other activities and practices contributing to the change could include for example developing offering, providing responsible options for customers in the buying process and sharing information on concrete efforts on specific ESG areas.
Related to the second trend, increasing request for more proactive experience, customers would prefer even more proactive interactions from the companies’ side. Meaning that the utilisation of the data, they have given the companies the permission to use, would improve. It is important to note that the consent is the key, only data which has customer’s permission to be used, should be used to make the experience more proactive. It would require companies to further consolidate and utilise the customer knowledge they have and have permission to use. Nevertheless, the regulations affect organisations differently, so the possibilities to utilise data in certain ways are different. All of this would also highlight the importance of well-organised data governance as well as build and test activities of use cases for more proactive actions.
The development of technology and virtual realities also brings new opportunities in customer experience. According to the BearingPoint article, there is an increasing request for more orchestrated experience as well as immersive and more community-based experience. While more orchestrated experience could be attained by defining a clear flow strategy based on customer value and by implementing policies to utilise different channels, the more immersive and community-based experience could be reached by designing more immersive customer journeys and integrating them to the combination of physical, digital, and virtual interactions.
Finally, even though technology plays a big role in our lives, the meaning of human interactions, either physical or digital, has not become any less worthy. The increasing request of genuine experience highlights the importance of whole organisation’s alignment behind the customer-oriented company values. It is not enough that those who play a major role in the front-line of the company towards the customers are customer-oriented, but the company should intentionally engage all in the organisation to create the value for the customer. Thus, the cultural change towards this, including the implementation of impactful practices across the organisation could be a starting point to answer this request.
The challenges, as well as the opportunities, that the trends pose for companies require work on multiple levels of customer experience and co-operation between various teams across the organisation. To achieve the desired future state, a structured approach to the customer experience management is needed.
We structure our customer experience framework around the customer experience vision, business goals and priorities. For us they are always in the centre of all customer experience related activities and need to be in line with the company strategy and brand promise. Building on that, all the activities around the vision enable continuous learning about the customers and the iterative process of improving customer experience. Activities including gaining customer insight, conducting customer analysis, developing customer experience, and measuring the customer experience should together form an agile operating model which also then feeds back to the vision and the iteration of that in longer term. For the iterative process of developing customer experience to function, customer experience foundations need to be well in place. Foundations work literally as the base for all the activities in customer experience, such as the tools, organisation, and ways of working.
In the next articles we will dive into our customer experience framework in a more detailed way and discuss topics that we would like to especially highlight related to each of the framework areas, starting from the vision.
For the past 10 years in Finland, we have researched and analysed Finnish organisations’ digital capabilities and maturity in different channels. This work around digital customer experience culminates each year in our Digital Leaders Study publication, which compares the digital maturity of the largest Finnish companies in customer experience through digital channels. In the study, we aim to unravel the digital capabilities in selected Finnish companies across sectors and find best practices to gain digital competitiveness and success.
If you are interested in this work, please find our latest Digital Leaders Study 2023 in Finnish. In this study, we analysed all together 68 Finnish companies across 14 sectors both by collecting data through customer interfaces and conducting interviews.
You can also find the global Digital Leaders Study in which all together, 679 companies have been assessed across 21 sectors in 11 countries.
Senior Manager, Digital & Strategy
Senior Business Consultant, Digital & Strategy