As a Customer Experience Designer my work is commonly made up of learning about different people, reflecting on behaviours, patterns, market and social forces to predict future behaviours and ways of interacting.
And so, as a professional overthinker, it comes somewhat naturally to observe and reflect on broad movements in the space I work and look at what that might mean for how we deliver CX in the future.
Once again, as we are wrapping up client projects and wrapping Christmas gifts, I find myself typing out my annual CX trends wrap-up article, to share with you some of what I have observed as a CX professional and what I predict to be some the key trends as we move into 2022.
In 2021, COVID-19 and in turn the response of communities, governments and individuals has continued to shape how consumers interact, select and purchase. For me, the silver-lining of the hellscape that has been 2 years of the pandemic has been our human response to it – seeking out more human and connected experiences, making more ethical choices and supporting brands who share our value systems.
So, what does this unprecedented social and market force mean for us as CX professionals and organisations? Here I share a few of my own observations of what is evolving in our space.
AI and Machine Learning Will Be Critical In Delivering Richer Human Experiences
Through the pandemic, we have been separated from those we love and interacting with our workplaces at a distance. The urge for genuine human connection has exploded.
AI and Machine Learning are a perfect way for businesses to streamline their transactional experiences and simple requests, while freeing up their teams to provide the critical human element of the customer experience. This manifests heavily in chatbots, but also powers the simple tasks and ‘next best interaction’ cues for sales and service teams, empowering them to focus on empathy and be a smiling face for your organisation.
Customer Lifetime Value Has Become The New Critical Metric
Customer loyalty will be the major opportunity for organisations in 2022. Customers will seek out engaging brands that align with their values, treat them with respect and predict their needs. Focussing on Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) enables us to understand more about what we can do to maintain strong relationships with customers, how much to spend acquiring them and the importance of early identification and mitigation of customer churn.
When customers love a brand, they are more loyal, spend more and tell others about it, invariably leading to an increase in CLV. This means that great CX is business-critical and focussing on single metrics and interactions is valuable. It’s important businesses take a zoomed-out, all-of-customer journey view of their organisation and seek ways to improve the overall brand experience.
Good UX Is More Important Than Ever Before
It isn’t lost on me that we say this every year, but UX needs to be GREAT, like, really, really great now. The pandemic brought all of us online and forced businesses and customers to adapt to digital ways of interacting, transacting and communicating. Poor or non-existent digital channels can’t be made better with a great in-person experience. Entire groups of customers made the switch from traditional channels to digital, and many will never revert back.
As more customers than ever before are interacting with you digitally, the old adage has never been truer – your UX is measured against the best experiences in the world. Customers are prioritising in-person human moments and leaving simple interactions and transactions for online. Every business needs to prioritise great UX to ensure these customers and users can get in, get it done and get out again.
How And Why Humans Work Is Evolving
For many, the pandemic has caused us to ask, “What is my purpose and how does my work facilitate or detract from that?” As a result, people are starting to expect more of their workplace – flexibility, genuine recognition and the ability to contribute to a purpose beyond making money.
With so much competition for great talent, now is a critical time for businesses to consider what their employee value proposition is and what is their organisational purpose. Flexibility and work-life balance contribute to the value proposition, but so too does:
- Non-financial recognition
- Fair wages
- Conditions with peers
- Opportunities to grow
- Opportunities to contribute to their communities
If you are interested in learning more about how workplaces need to evolve for creatives, designers, engineers and other makers, I highly recommend checking out Future of Doing Work – a brilliant resource for businesses interested in improving their value proposition for employees.
So, there you have it, these are a few of the key trends I am seeing as we move from 2021 into 2022. What do you think?
What have you seen from your own perspective that you think might shape how we deliver CX in 2022? Connect with us on LinkedIn and let us know in our comments!
Written by Stephen Luke, Senior CX Designer