To survive a new era of customer experience, a shift in thinking is required 

As businesses across the globe move deeper into their digital transformations (DX), the customer experience (CX) is continually evolving and must remain a top priority. CX has transformed so much over the last decade (and especially throughout the pandemic) that Gartner recently updated its definition of customer experience management (CXM) to capture the shift. “CXM is the discipline of understanding customers and deploying strategic plans that enable cross-functional efforts and customer-centric culture to improve satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy,” it reads.

It may seem simple at first glance, but a closer look at this new definition reveals that executives can no longer view CXM as a separate requirement for the business. Instead, business leaders should take a holistic approach to incorporate CX at all levels of the organization, with the understanding that the underlying strategy must be built to evolve and be fluid enough to change course at a moment’s notice. In a nutshell, CX should no longer be considered a mindset, but instead, as Gartner puts it, “a discipline–a living, evolving, repeatable and ongoing set of capabilities that demands continuous investment, requires a system of governance, and delivers measurable outcomes.”

Why does all this matter? A shift in perspective can have an overall positive impact on the organization, especially when it comes to digital investment in areas like CX. Customer Contact Week reports that, after the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 60% of consumers care more about their experience when deciding which companies to support and buy from. Likewise, a recent report from Salesforce reveals that most consumers (80%) say their experience is as important as the product or service. 

These numbers are significant on their own, but especially so when considering 8 in 10 B2B organizations and 65% of B2C companies are still in the early stages of CX maturity, per Gartner. Making the leap from CX laggard to leader can help build resilience during recessionary periods. As McKinsey notes, CX leaders experience “shallower troughs and quicker recovery,” and see three times higher returns on their investments. McKinsey adds that it should be easier for organizations to take advantage of CX opportunities with the recent rise of digital, noting that, “companies will have even more dynamic data at their fingertips, and they can use these data to extract immediate insights.”

However, as CIO Dive recently pointed out, the biggest CX challenges are still ahead. “In the coming five years, consumers will expect the businesses they interact with to deliver a cohesive experience across all touchpoints, and organizations will shape that experience through a host of supporting technologies under CIO leadership,” the article notes. This holistic approach requires far more than insightful data; it demands that CX become the central focus of the organization’s digital initiatives and that all executives, not just the CIO, are on board. Much like the overarching DX strategy demands buy-in from all stakeholders, and CX should be baked into all facets of the business, from process to culture

With customer demand playing a crucial role in the success of an organization, prioritizing CX is a key ingredient to accelerating growth. PWC reports that at least 3% of consumers would pay more for convenience, and 42% would pay more for a friendly experience. Friendly, positive experiences translate to trust, customer loyalty, and new business. Above all, the new shift in perspective on CX will allow executives to build resilient strategies that touch every part of the organization.