2020 is a year full of hope and possibility. Unlike most turns of the calendar, this is a year we have explicitly imagined and anticipated. We are in the future now.
And yet, we don’t have personal flying cars, we don’t have video phone booths on street corners, we don’t have nanobots coursing through our veins, and we don’t have humanoid robot servants in our homes. (A fun look at more failed predictions here.)
This isn’t troubling. As a collective society we have been evolving to a greater state of consciousness - being in touch with what matters, what we are here to do, and focusing on the present.
And so, at the beginning of this marked first year of this significant decade, rather than offer extravagant predictions, the following are my personal intentions for progressing the discipline of CX.
In this highly charged election and Olympics year, our social values will be at the height of our consciousness, driving brand scrutiny and purchase decisions in a new dimension. Knowing the political affiliation, issues stance, and personal values profile of your consumers will be highly valuable for targeting, customization and personalization of messaging. And should usher in some new thinking about segment definitions and the varying shelf-life of profile attributes in general.
Every Business A Service
Our decreasing interest in consumption and increasing interest in experiences don’t bode well for a product-centric business model. The good news is, as we consume less, we are looking to do more. And if properly explored, there is a monetize-able service extension for every brand and product. Be it in the form of subscription offerings, experiential extensions, product support layers, or human networks, brands that focus on service innovation - even if traditionally a product manufacturer - will thrive.
"There is a monetize-able service extension for every brand and product"
EX Leading CX
The nearly indisputable Harvard Business Review service profit chain essentially outlines that happy employees beget happy customers beget healthy P&Ls. It is decades old, yet more relevant than ever, and even more important when every business becomes a service business. Yet by definition, a commitment to customer-centricity starts in the middle of that equation. Brands that move the employee experience to the top of the priority list should see even stronger CX results.
Personalization That’s Personal
With more personal data legislation this year, consumers gain even more control of their data and how brands can use it - and California won’t stand alone for long. Thought-leading brands will start to differentiate on their data practices and how they allow consumers to manage their identity, preferences, and profiles. Beyond “personalizing” targeted ads, the new practice will be about putting meaningful consumer-defined parameters on how data is used throughout each individual’s experience.
"Thought-leading brands will start to differentiate on their data practices and how they allow consumers to manage their identity, preferences, and profiles"
Micro-Journeys Over Monoliths
While useful for corralling chaos (AKA tactics), monolithic linear journey maps - a standard continuum of decision phases - are really just an organizing framework. Most can be interchanged without affecting the experience at all. It’s time to invest in the journeys within the journey - the connected interaction sets specifically aligned to critical user end-goals (such as the micro-journey toward finding a realtor within the macro journey of buying a home). These highly emotional “marker moments” can make or break the perception of the whole experience itself. Brands that focus on them will be quicker to action and outcomes.
All decisions are made in context, yet the traditional customer journey approach tends to treat people considering a product or service as though they exist in a vacuum. Rather than diagnosing what types of life events are likely happening within a product/service journey, enlightened brands will begin to manage consumer journeys, understanding where their products/services are relevant within the common journeys that people go through in life (e.g., the journey toward adulthood/independence, the journey of marriage or divorce, the journey of loss), to address unmet and unrealized experience needs.
I am a real believer that meaningful CX can have meaningful impact on lives, the economy, and the planet. And according to Forbes and others, it’s the most important investment a business can make in this most important year.