Leading businesses are adopting new rules of engagement and reimagining their operations to regain what’s been lost
Our new reality is one where large chunks of everyday life are missing. The Economist coined the phrase ‘The 90% Economy’ which refers to a reality that’s far from normal. There are fewer domestic flights, some restaurants haven’t opened again yet, and households are rationalizing by cancelling services they no longer need. The impact on business has been considerable.
But is this change temporary or permanent?
It doesn’t really matter. While we understand that recovery is a process rather than an event, what really matters is that there’s a gap that needs to be filled. The question is, rather – where will it come from? Businesses are scrambling to reimagine their operations and adapt to the new customer mindset, with customer retention moving swiftly to centre stage as new business stalls.
At inQuba (rated by analysts as a Journey Orchestration Platform provider in 2020), we’ve seen the limitations of current approaches. We’ve been developing a blueprint to reinvent CX for several years. We’ve also seen the global shift to digital, which isn’t the traditional domain of the CX professional. The foundation for a comprehensive blueprint is Customer Journey Management – a methodology that provides an environment for the synthesis of customer data while supporting CX professionals that need to adapt to the New Normal.
Examining the New Customer
Consumers of 5 years ago wouldn’t recognize themselves today. Like businesses, consumers have been accelerated into a digital-first world1, having progressed in months in a way that should’ve taken years. This shift is showing itself through digital channel preferences and increasingly connected lives, and consumers expect businesses to meet them there.
But they also hold the power. Consumers’ connected lives and abundance of choice have resulted in a shift from being passive to being empowered2. From being reliant to being self-reliant. Today they’re mobile, hands-on and smart.
And the outcome of pervasive digital and empowerment, an unsettling cocktail for unprepared businesses, is that consumers can switch really easily. They’re influenced by whether they’re engaged through their channel of choice, in a way that’s contextual and relevant. From a business perspective, every interaction should be an opportunity for the brand to drive loyalty.
But what about the things that haven’t changed?
As consumers, we still seek signs of positive intentions in brands3. We still seek value4, even if the things that we value are evolving. We still seek authentic experiences5, especially in a world where trust in mega-brands is wavering.
The response of the CX professional will determine whether they will survive and thrive.
Adapting to the New Normal
We find ourselves at the intersection of the Now and the Next, where businesses are still grappling to respond to what’s been lost. What was planned for years has happened in months and brands are scurrying for tools and approaches. It’s clear that a blueprint is needed, one that provides CX professionals with control and granularity. It’s also clear that businesses are starting to ask the right questions.
In our conversations with forward-thinking businesses we’ve been excited to see the shift in dialogue. We’ve worked with a prominent Australian insurer as they’ve become intent on getting to the bottom of customer churn. We’ve come alongside an upcoming South African digital banking service as they’ve resolved to understand and build customer lifetime value rather than mere experience. In all cases there’s a focus on understanding and optimizing real, end-to-end customer journeys.
The rules of engagement are different. Approaches are agile and experimental. Methods are collaborative and value-driven. Digital tools are needed for digital journeys. This is how businesses are regaining the lost 10%.
A Blueprint for the Future
It’s imperative that CX professionals level up their roles and abilities according to the demands of the new customer and evolving environment. So, what does a blueprint for the future of customer management look like?
We’ve seen that the framework needs to empower the CX professional to digitally model customer journeys in order to understand paths and obstacles. They will also certainly want to overlay these journeys with customers’ feelings and emotions, offering new insight on customer behaviour. The CX professional, having discovered problematic paths, will want to fix these journeys by launching quick interventions to ensure journey optimisation – nudges that have real ROI and regains what’s been lost.
There are a few things we can be certain about. The world has changed, and the change required within business isn’t optional. A continuous learning and adaptation process is required for survival, and customers’ journeys need to be managed rather than passively spectated.