Contributed Article by Liza Smyth, SVP of Customer Experience for Formstack
With an economic downturn on the horizon for 2023, customer experience is paramount. A positive customer experience drives customer loyalty, leading to retention and, ultimately, a stronger bottom line. According to McKinsey, improving customer experience is the fastest-growing priority for surveyed customer care leaders.
Let’s look at how we expect customer experience to evolve in 2023 and how it will impact forward-thinking organizations.
Keeping pace with customer expectations in 2023
In the coming year, companies will continue to focus on customer experience, but must also keep up with heightening customer expectations amid stiffer competition. Because of the last few years of digital-first experiences driven by the pandemic, customers now increasingly expect personalized interactions and a secure, seamless buying experience that intuits their needs, regardless of the channel they choose to make a purchase.
An exceptional customer experience is a key factor in your organization’s competitive edge. In fact, 73% of surveyed customers said that experience was a driving factorin their purchasing decisions. Exceptional customer experiences keep customers coming back, and retaining existing customers is essential during times of economic turmoil when new customers are difficult to come by.
Look at the customer experience holistically
In 2023, the responsibility of customer experience will be shared across the company — from tip to tail, every segment of an organization will play a role in improving the customer experience. Ensure your departments are communicating with each other to deliver the most unified experience, as 85% of customers expect cohesive interactions across departments, according to Salesforce data.
But how do you know if you’re improving your customers’ experiences? The best way to measure CX is to listen to your customers. Customer satisfaction surveys will clarify what you’re doing right while allowing customers to provide feedback. These results will let you dig deeper into what is working and identify pain points to address. This information can help you recognize any silos to break down between departments, which will ultimately improve interdepartmental communication and the comprehensive customer experience.
Invest in digital transformation
Digital transformation’s second wave will bring humans into the digital experience. This is crucial, as 82% of surveyed Americans said they want more human interaction in their customer experience. Even as digital transformation becomes more commonplace, the human touch is still integral to customer satisfaction.
The most forward-thinking organizations will invest in digital transformation even with the forecasted economic uncertainty. The shift to digital will determine how to personalize experiences, anticipate customers’ needs, and offer a smooth customer experience from start to finish, overall increasing value for the customer and strengthening customer relationships — a result that 72% of surveyed leaders said they expected from a digital shift. Strong customer relationships are linked to improved retention and increased loyalty, both of which will play a part in where consumers decide to spend their money during 2023.
In the coming year, vendors will commence this next wave of digital transformation by using different channels and forums to communicate with customers. Using multiple channels for communication will lead to better data to analyze to identify key insights. Using this data, you can more effectively fulfill customers’ needs and facilitate seamless, intuitive self-help. This pivot to digital will contribute to improved customer experiences.
As the importance of customer experience continues to trend upward, businesses will increasingly look to differentiate themselves through their offerings. The smartest organizations will look at the customer experience as a whole to better unify experiences, while also investing in digital transformation to personalize experiences and assume customer needs in 2023 and beyond.