The future of CX is here, and most companies are not ready
- 20 February, 2019 06:40
The future of customer experience (CX) is about personalised, seamless, zero-friction experiences. However, most companies are far from this goal because their operational structure is product-focused rather than customer-focused.
This is the view of Blake Morgan, the author and CX futurist who visited Sydney for the Magento conference last week.
Morgan said the demand for personalisation and seamlessless in everything the consumer does is only going to increase as we move into the future, and yet companies are a long way from being able to deliver it, even now.
“A few years ago I was very frustrated with the industry, because people were using the phrases ‘customer service’ and ‘customer experience’ interchangeably. This was a misnomer for me, in that experience would only be shaped by what happens after the sale,” Morgan told CMO.
“The experience economy, the shift of power from company to customer, and the sheer power of technology today, means we’ve arrived at the CX of the future.
“Customers now have influence and they are talking about your products and services. Companies are also facing the commoditisation of products and services, as too many of the same things are now available.
“Plus, most companies don’t have a true omnichannel experience."
Morgan said what companies need to be asking themselves is how to make customers feel special, how to make their lives easier and better, how to make the customer remember them, or they absolutely risk being phased out by competitors.
“Most companies are not doing a good CX job. It is hard to simply be customer-focused over being product-focused, so very few companies make decision with that customer focus; most of them are making product-centric decisions based on what makes their lives easier and better, not the customers’," she continued.
“All it takes is a simple shift to a CX mindset, but in a way so that no one owns it, it’s just in the culture across the entire company."
Key is to be internally structured to embrace digital transformation.
"Most companies operate by channel, vertically, and then they have a horizontal customer and she expects a seamless experience, but she’s not getting it because the company is not set up for it. Most companies don’t have an organisational structure to allow for that seamless experience, and that’s why younger, more agile companies are winning out.”
According to Morgan, the best companies offering a seamless CX at the moment are the ones with founder CEOs who can make CX-focused decisions.
“Founder CEOs don’t care if the board doesn’t like it, they are not worried about being misunderstood by Wall Street, or looking bad quarter to quarter. They have the confidence and the commitment to the customer to make the long term decisions necessary to pivot,” she said.
“A lot of the examples I talk about for CX are tech companies with founder CEOs, like Netflix, etc. Sephora and Target have also gone through successful digital transformation, and it took them years, but they came out on top.”
Morgan breaks good CX into six parts: Design something special, offer an employee experience culture, modernise with technology, obsess over the customer and measure it, reward responsibility and accountability, and embrace disruption and innovation.
She also said B2B companies need to offer B2C-level CX if they want to survive.
“Unfortunately people don’t spend as much time on the B2B CX, but this is a mistake. B2B buyers are the same as you and me. They are enjoying amazing consumer-grade technology in their personal lives, and they go to work and they are in technology hell, or sellers put them through a minefield to make a purchase.
"Companies need to take the B2B landscape seriously, those B2B buyers expect the same seamless CX as they are getting from Amazon, Spotify, Netflix and Apple in the rest of their lives,” she said.
Finally, Morgan said she is not a fan of breaking up demographics when talking about CX, as everyone wants the same level of experience.
“Most people today want a fast, efficient experience, regardless of demographics. Yes, the younger generation have grown up with technology so they are not used to waiting for anything; they demand and expect personalisation at every turn.
“But many baby boomers are even more tech-savvy than millennials. Millennials really value experiences over things, as they have watched their parents lose their life savings and retirement in the GCF, and have graduated into a business environment where the jobs are not what they thought they would be. So they looked in the mirror asked: ‘who am I? Do I define myself by things or by experiences? Younger generations are leading with sharing these experiences online via social media, but this doesn’t mean the other generations don’t value experience.”