To thrive in the digital age, companies must deliver memorable digital and physical experiences, which are defined by speed and ease of use. Competing on price and quality alone won’t cut it. In fact, 81 percent of companies expect to compete mostly or completely on customer experience (CX) in 2019 (Gartner, 2017).
Today, customers have an ever-increasing expectation around personalization. Companies harnessing big data and artificial intelligence to successfully meet evolving customer demands are reaping the rewards. CX leaders grow revenue 1.4 times faster and increase customer lifetime value 1.6 times more than CX laggards (Forrester, 2018). Companies such as Intuit use their data to better understand their customers’ needs and then proactively design solutions such as co-browsing and live video chat to further engage their customers and ultimately gain their loyalty. Successful companies have also reinvented established systems to give today’s customers what they want. Metromile, for instance, recognized that “not every customer needs insurance all of the time” (Forbes, 2018) and decided to offer a pay-as-you-go option for drivers, essentially disrupting the age-old insurance system by providing “on-demand” insurance coverage to match customers’ flexible lifestyles.
This work is not easy. Even companies that recognize the importance of CX and work to meet intensifying customer expectations are experiencing the pain of keeping pace. Companies that may have spent the last decade focusing on internal process improvements now find themselves out of touch and way behind when it comes to innovating their customers’ journey. In fact, 55 percent of CX professionals believe their companies will be too slow and face disruption from more innovative, nimble, and customer-focused competitors (Oracle, 2018).
Understanding how to recognize, prioritize, and allocate resources is essential to success. To differentiate themselves, businesses are no longer solving for the service crises of the moment. Instead, they are seizing opportunities to build a deep understanding of their customers in order to anticipate needs not yet recognized and ultimately prepare to delight their customers by solving problems before they arise.
Anticipating customer needs in an effort to create seamless and memorable experiences differentiates these businesses as experience innovators. These innovators understand that the customer-obsessed companies will build trusting, loyal relationships with their target audience. As companies recognize the differentiating power of experience design, it is imperative that they chart the next steps with intention and knowing when, where, and how to act.