The recent health-related, economical, and geo-political changes along with the longer-term development of ecological crises, increasingly digitalized and automated world, and polarization, have led individuals, organisations, and societies to a crossroads. In this larger context, it is evident that the relationships between many parties, including organisations and their customers, are starting to reform.
As we know, customer experience is the perception of an organisation by an individual through all their senses, which develops in the various interactions with the organisation over time. As humans, we experience the world through our own understanding of it and build relationships based on our needs, wants, hopes, and fears. The world is rapidly changing, and so are our understandings of it and through that the requirements develop also for customer experience.
The first trend is about customers requesting more responsibly produced goods and services. While the importance of responsibility in producing products and services is increasingly recognised, there are also many instances where the communicated version is different from the reality, adding to the greenwashing phenomenon. Responsibility is no longer something to potentially add, but a key requirement for large crowds. For organisations selling goods and services, this means that they need to be more transparent in their processes and practices throughout the organisation to communicate their responsibility clearly and reliably on all aspects: environmentally, socially, and governmentally. And improve their processes and practices accordingly to enable this.
Related to the second trend, increasing request for more proactive services, customers would like to receive more personalized journeys serving their needs proactively. While this requires companies to utilise the data, they have the permission to use, more profoundly, it could also support companies in reducing the number of incoming support requests if they developed the solutions to serve the customer proactively.
The number of different digital platforms has increased over the years, thus changing the way customers interact with customer service. The third trend, the increasing request for more orchestrated services, alongside with the latest advancements in automation, chatbots and digital platforms, brings new kinds of challenges for companies. As customers prefer selecting channels readily available for them over utilising the standard path the company offers, companies need to rethink their strategy and practises in orchestrating their channels.
Related to the trend of increasing request for more immersive and community-based experiences, technologies such as augmented reality pose new opportunities for serving customers while they are looking to be part of a community. For companies this could mean developing their customer experiences to combine the best of virtual and physical worlds, meaning there would be a relationship not only between the company and the customer, but between the customers as well.
Finally, as mentioned earlier, there is an increasing request for more genuine interactions. In the BearingPoint customer experience trend article, it was described that while the company employees may enjoy serving the customer, the level of commitment to create excellent customer experience may not be adequate to fully support those who work on the customer interface. For companies it means that the culture within the whole organisation is a critical piece in the customer experience puzzle as many teams and skills are needed to create the customer experience, even though not everyone works at the interface directly.
All in all, these five trends indicate that despite the digitalized world we live in, the connections between people are still very important, as well as the ethics and motivation of actions taken, which requires attention in organisations. In the next article we investigate how companies could align with these trends and present our framework for customer experience.
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