Companies are increasingly rebranding themselves as customer experience-oriented. Retailers, manufacturers, hospitals, even some government branches are taking on the customer mindset as a way to improve their public perceptions. It seems no organization is immune to the draw of customer-centricity.
So why is CX trending upwards so quickly in the modern market? Within the past decade, even within the past 5 years, growth in this area has been explosive, and seems to be sticking. Here are 6 reasons companies are rebranding themselves in the experience economy:
Social media gave rise to the first channels where the customer and the brand can talk to each other directly, on a one-to-many basis for the whole world to see. Companies were faced with a new kind of customer that was directly engaged with and connected to more elements of the marketplace than ever before.
The buzz surrounding the CX community has helped propel it into a term proliferated across all types of social channels as yet another way for companies to differentiate themselves from competitors.
Millennials and the way they perceive their relationships with companies has been an undeniable influence; they treat companies they do business with as extensions of their own personal values. Their relationship with a company is paramount, and the interconnectedness of the social media market ensures that there's always a channel open for criticism, whether positive or negative.
There was some doubt that CX would survive past this point, and that both the term and discipline would give way to the "next shiny thing" if it proved ineffective. A study from Confirmit showed that:
"...despite increasing recognition of the importance of taking a customer-centric approach to business and investment in CX programs, ROI is the biggest area of failure with only 20% of companies scoring 9 - 10 for seeing a ROI, and 14% scoring 0-2."
However, advancements in AI and Machine Learning are dramatically improving data processing and feedback systems for both VoC and empirical data, reinforcing companies' ability to crystallize the Voice of Customer feedback, which is vital to keeping pace with their CX initiatives.
CX has become more than just another corporate initiative, it's an entirely new job class. Thanks to the CXPA, a non-profit professional network founded in 2011, CX practicioners can be granted certifications recognizing their unique qualifications, as well as a strong and growing professional network where they can share ideas and learn from one another.
There's even a new c-suite role coming into prominence: Chief Experience Officers. There's some debate as to what the role actually entails, and whether they should oversee both customer and employee experience
Sales teams have traditionally relied on the sales funnel model, but recently this idea has been shaken up by HubSpot's introduction of the Sales Flywheel.
Rather than guiding a customer down a funnel until the point of sale and letting them drop out afterwards, the customer is placed at the center of a continuous loop of experiences and interactions. The concept was designed to create sustainable value through a lasting relationship with customers, which naturally fosters better customer experiences.
If you're still doubting the power of the experience economy, don't forget how much it already appears in mainstream advertising. How many times have you heard ads lead with,
"Come experience the <insert magical schpeel here> with <insert company name here>'.
Or maybe 'We'll give you the experience of a lifetime'? You've probably heard it more than you care to remember. Joe Pine spoke with us about how experiences are the ultimate differentiators in a commoditized market.
But ironically, CX itself has become so commoditized that companies now have to differentiate their 'experience' initiatives from one another. Registria for example coined Ownership Experience as their unique spin on the concept.
Marketing for the experience economy has cemented itself as an industry standard, and the surrounding disciplines are here to stay. If CX isn't already part of your strategy, you might be late to party. If it is, you should step up your innovation and tech strategies, because that's how the flywheels are turning.